© AP, Dec 09, 2011

Prandelli celebrates Italy's success in Santa suit

FLORENCE, Italy(AP) Christmas has come early for Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.

With three Italian teams advancing to the knockout round of the Champions League, Prandelli put on a Santa Claus suit and handed out gifts to children in Florence on Thursday. Italy is the only country with three clubs in the last 16 of Europe's top club competition - AC Milan, Inter Milan and Napoli.

Prandelli says ''with three Italian squads in the Champions League I'm going to be even happier this Christmas. ... The players gain experience, have more matches and therefore we'll enter a big event like the European Championship better prepared.''

For Euro 2012, Italy has been drawn into a difficult group with defending champion Spain, Ireland and Croatia.

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