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Nine of the Azzurri players have been downgraded after they discovered the plane which will take them to Brazil was too small

After a string of second-rate performances, one would be justified in labelling the Italy national team as second rate. However, it seems the country has taken that notion literally as a number of Cesare Prandelli's players have been downgraded to second class on the flight to Brazil for the World Cup.

The Azzurri began their journey to the tournament in South America where they will meet Uruguay, England and Costa Rica, kicking off their campaign against Roy Hodgson's side on June 14.

And as the nation's players boarded the plane for the journey the day after their embarrassing 1-1 draw with Luxembourg, extending their winless streak to seven games, they found that it was too small to fit all 23 players in business class.

As a result, the Azzurri's newcomers were shifted into economy class while the stars enjoyed the luxuries of first class. 

Alessio Cerci, Ciro Immobile, Matteo Darmian, Mattia Perin, Antonio Mirante, Lorenzo Insigne and Mattia De Sciglio were all downgraded on the plane which will also carry the wives of coach Prandelli, Antonio Cassano and Alberto Aquilani.

The Azzurri will land in Rio on Friday morning and travel to Mangaratiba, where they will be based, which is surrounded by a tropical forest and is situated near the beach of Sao Braz.

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