Cesare Prandelli has acknowledged that his Italy side are not the best on the planet, but is adamant that they can beat the World Cup’s favourites.
The Azzurri reached the final of Euro 2012, seeing off Germany on the way and the former Fiorentina boss is confident they can also spring a few surprises in Brazil next year.
“Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain are the favourites. There are six or seven teams behind them, including Italy,” he explained to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“There’s an idea that we’re the strongest, the most beautiful and the most talented. But we’re not. We are no longer the best, but we can beat the best as long as we behave in a certain way – with team spirit.”
Italy have been handed a tough group-stage draw alongside England, Uruguay and Costa Rica and Prandelli hopes that recent victories over their fellow giants will stand them in good stead.
“We are not afraid, but it remains a difficult group, with three former world champions. The minimum goal is to qualify, possibly first in the standings,” he continued.
“We had a great game against England at Euro 2012. We didn’t score, but we went through on penalties. We suffered in the second half in the Confederations Cup against Uruguay before another win on penalties.
“I’m not talking about Costa Rica but I’ve started studying them. They have technical and physical quality. These months until the tournament are fundamental. In recent weeks we’ve laid the foundations for the preparation.”