Cesare Prandelli said Italy “will try to surprise Brazil” in tomorrow’s friendly, but admitted to feeling “scared” after their plane was hit by lightning.
The tactician’s Press conference in Geneva was a little late, as the flight from Florence was hit by lightning during the landing process.
“I challenge anyone to say they weren’t scared,” Prandelli told journalists.
“There was a loud ‘boom’ and then silence. The bolt of lightning hit the wing. Anyway, we don’t want to talk about that.
“Are we the favourites against Brazil? That seems an exaggeration. Yes, they are seeking their identity, but never lost that spirit.
“They have extraordinary quality and their own style of football. We are not the favourites, but we hope to make life difficult for them tomorrow.
“Brazil are seeking the right team for the World Cup and this is a generational change. They will be prepared for the tournament as hosts.
“Neymar is one of the modern strikers in world football. He combines technique and quality with the ability to change tempo as he runs. He can attack the defensive line even without a partner.”
Italy and Brazil will meet again for the Confederations Cup in June, having lost their last encounter in this tournament 3-0 in the 2010 South African edition.
“Italy have changed a lot since then,” argued Prandelli. “We tried to unite the experience of Gigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi with some lads of quality and prospects.
“We played as a team and not as individuals. The Euros were positive and we must continue along that path.
“Tomorrow’s game will also help us in terms of experience to prepare for the Confederations Cup match.”
Mario Balotelli is expected to start against Brazil, having found his form with seven goals in six games since joining Milan.
“The advantage for my Italy side is that by playing at Milan he can train with another four internationals,” continued Prandelli.
“Is he like Adriano? In the two years I worked with Adriano at Parma, he was very motivated. He was one of the best players I ever trained. It’s a shame he settled with what he had already done.
“Mario has more pride than Adriano and wants to really prove he is one of the best in the world.”
Italy have managed just one draw from their last six friendly games.
“We were criticised for some friendly games, but the performances were decent against some of the top seven or eight sides in the FIFA ranking. We were not interested in the results of friendlies, as we want to propose some new young players, including against Brazil.
“Stephan El Shaarawy has a real nose for goal and pace that can put defences under pressure. We want to play this game as well as possible and trouble the Seleçao.”