We must focus on Italy first, warns Pique

The Spain defender insists his side must not be distracted by thoughts of potential final opponents or else risk replicating their defeat to USA in 2009
Spain star Gerard Pique has warned his team-mates to focus on their Confederations Cup semi-final against Italy, and not on who they could face in the final.

La Roja finished with maximum points from the group stage after their 3-0 win over Nigeria on Sunday, and many have predicted a final showdown against hosts Brazil, who take on Uruguay in the last four on Wednesday after also winning all three of their opening games.

But Pique insists his side must only concentrate on overcoming Cesare Prandelli's side in their next game, claiming that premature thoughts of the final could see a replica of their 2009 semi-final defeat to USA.

"Let's not talk about a potential final, it happened to us at the last Confederations Cup in 2009 and we lost to the United States in the semi-finals," the 26-year-old told reporters.  "Let's talk about the game that comes next against Italy.

"It's a totally different match, the tournament is different, the heat is different and they come in [to the game] after a nice tournament so far.

"They won the first two games and lost to Brazil but they played hard at all times."

The centre-back also spoke about the effect the high temperatures at the Estadio Castelao had had on he and his team-mates, after Vicente del Bosque had admitted his side suffered in the conditions in Fortaleza.

"The pitch was in good condition and that helped us, but it's true that the heat was more intense," said the Barcelona man. "It's been a good day for us to get used to it."

The tournament has been marred by anti-government protests outside the stadia in Brazil, with fatalities already confirmed following violent clashes between police and civilians in the past week.

Pique, however, claims his side have largely been shielded from the problems off the pitch.

"We're not too aware of it [the protests], we're always in the hotel and being shuttled around," he added.

"When we're in the bus we see them sometimes protesting and saying what they think. We hope that our football is something they enjoy regardless."