Prandelli warns of Czech midfield minefield

The Italy boss believes Tuesday's opponents boast a variety of tactical options in the middle, although coach Michal Bilek is feeling the pressure ahead of the clash
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has warned that Tuesday’s opponents Czech Republic possess one of the finest midfields in international football.

The Azzurri will secure their place in the 2014 World Cup with three points against Michal Bilek’s side, but the 56-year-old is aware of the dangers posed by the likes of Tomas Rosicky, Petar Jiracek and Jaroslav Plasil.

"Czech Republic have one of the best midfields in the world," Prandelli told reporters.

"They have a lot of creativity, a great ability to attack spaces and they can play several systems: the diamond formation, two withdrawn forwards or with very wide midfielders.

"I'm not being polite but that’s what we analysed by watching their last few matches.

"For 35 minutes against Armenia three days ago, their build-up play was excellent, they just lacked a bit of luck in front of goal.

"We certainly do not think the match is already won."

Bilek, meanwhile, has acknowlegded the immense pressure on his side as they find themselves locked in a battle for second place in Group B with Bulgaria, Armenia and Denmark.

"I’ve been under pressure several times before but this is the hardest situation I’ve had to contend with," he said. "But I’m staying positive.

"Our biggest problem is the home matches. We haven’t managed to pick up points.

"Against Armenia we wasted our scoring opportunities."

Italy can confirm their place at next summer's World Cup with a win at Juventus Stadium on Tuesday, while Czech Republic will look to put themselves back in pole position for the play-offs following Friday's defeat to Armenia.