Cesare Prandelli “admires Uruguay’s spirit” and concedes Italy have an injury crisis for Sunday’s Confederations Cup third place final.
The Azzurri go head-to-head with the South Americans for the first time since November 2011, a friendly that Uruguay won 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
It kicks off in Salvador at 17.00 UK time (16.00 GMT), but is at 13.00 local time and so the heat is going to be a factor.
“We respect and admire Uruguay’s spirit. I have trained many Uruguayan players and I know what they feel when they wear the national jersey,” said Prandelli in his Press conference.
“This team has great temperament and quality, a strike force with extraordinary abilities and in tactical terms this is a tough game to prepare for.
“The match has to add consistency to our philosophy of football, but also help us gain experience against a Uruguay side that is second to none in terms of temperament.
“The lads who haven’t had as much playing time can get the opportunity to show what they can do, adding their determination and hunger to the mix.”
Andrea Pirlo and Andrea Barzagli are injured, joining Mario Balotelli and Ignazio Abate, while several players are exhausted after the extra time played with Spain on Thursday.
“At this moment we are struggling and some players haven’t fully recovered yet. We absolutely need to give them fitness tests to understand whether they are available.
“The Confederations Cup helped us to understand that for the World Cup next year we need to be physically at the top of our game.
“We have some players on the very edge of injury like Daniele De Rossi, Giorgio Chiellini and Alberto Gilardino.
“It’s good to know that in the World Cup if we are physically fit and prepared in terms of tactics, then we can put any opponent under pressure. We must not get affected by fear. We bring home this experience and knowledge it all depends on us and our approach.
“Having just one or two days with the players during the season would be a real help. This year everyone was running on empty a little bit, so it would’ve been a real advantage to know that a month earlier.”
It’s believed Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia De Sciglio will be among the starting XI against Uruguay, although there are doubts over the Little Pharaoh.
"Physically El Shaarawy is fine, but psychologically he's a bit burned out at the moment. I don't know yet if he'll play."
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