Andrea Barzagli trusts Italy are ready to face Mexico tomorrow with a Juventus-based line-up, but is “very worried” by Javier Hernandez.
The Azzurri open their Confederations Cup campaign at the Maracanà on Sunday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT). Today Brazil-Japan is also in Group A.
“We are getting closer to the debut against Mexico and clearly are more concentrated. The last two games against the Czech Republic and Haiti were not good, but we are at full fitness now and should be confident,” said the defender in his Press conference.
“We’re at the end of the season and used up so much energy, but over the last three weeks we worked specifically on fitness to reach our peak at the right time.”
Barzagli has already got his eye on El Tri’s star man, Chicarito Hernandez.
“We are studying Mexico and know they have quality players who can defend well and hit you on the counter. I am very worried by Hernandez, as he is quick and knows where the goal is. He really makes the most of his chances.
“After all, if you play for Manchester United, then you’ve got to have great qualities.”
The starting XI against Mexico is likely to include six Juventus players, including Gigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Barzagli.
“I won’t deny it is easier to play with a group of players you spend the entire year with. We know everything about each other and it just takes a glance to understand what we mean. It is also true that we are a squad of 23 excellent players here in Brazil.
“I don’t know how else to describe Pirlo and Buffon. Gigi made history and is set to beat the record of Italy caps. Andrea will make his 100th appearance on Sunday and confirms he’s one of the best midfielders in the world. We’re happy they are on our team.
“I had somewhat lost myself, but thanks to Juve I came back to Italy and the Azzurri. I also worked hard and never gave up, so I now feel like a protagonist again.”