Italy's soccer players can heal the "suffering" caused by the country's match-fixing scandal by winning Euro 2012, says AC Milan star Alexandre Pato.
The Brazilian forward, who has played in Serie A since he was 17, says an Azzurri victory in Poland and Ukraine could rejuvenate Italian football following a year blighted by corruption allegations.
The team's Euro 2012 preparations were disrupted by a police raid on their training base four days before the start of the tournament, as several prominent football figures were arrested in connection with a match-fixing and betting investigation.
The scandal prompted manager Cesare Prandelli to admit his team could pull out of the competition, but instead they have thrived and will face Germany in the semifinals on Thursday.
"What happened with the match fixing and the betting, it was really bad. Italian football has suffered a lot and we as players have suffered a lot," said Pato, who moved to Milan from Brazilian club Internacional for $32 million in 2007.
"But who knows... Italy in Euro 2012 can turn it around so that Italian football can change and come back to world-class standards."
The "suffering" described by Pato struck at the very core of Prandelli's team, which beat England in a penalty shootout on Sunday to reach the last four.
Full-back Domenico Criscito pulled out of Italy's squad on May 29 after being questioned by officials probing gambling markets linked to fixing results of matches in Serie A.
Nineteen others were arrested, 11 of them players in Italy's top division, in the ongoing investigation by magistrates in the city of Cremona.
The arrests were the latest in a long-running saga that has severely damaged Italian football.