Fabio Cannavaro trusts Italy will be ready for the World Cup, but has messages for Mario Balotelli and Francesco Totti.
He was captain of the Azzurri side that won the 2006 tournament and is one of eight former players who will help assign the teams to each group in Brazil on Friday at 16.00 GMT.
“I think it will be a very difficult World Cup because of logistic and climactic problems. You go from cold to hot and long journeys, but Italy are working well and will improve before the competition begins,” he said in a Press conference.
“We cannot compare this side to the 2006 team, because we can only make comparisons when it’s all over. This is a group of veterans and youth, so Cesare Prandelli is doing a great job.”
Cannavaro was asked whether this was Balotelli’s Italy, but shrugged off that tag.
“No, this is the team’s Italy. You cannot rely on just one man. The team spirit was decisive in 2006, don’t forget. Balotelli is extraordinary, but this Italy also has Gigi Buffon, Daniele De Rossi, Andrea Pirlo, Andrea Barzagli, Giuseppe Rossi...”
Can it also be the Italy of Totti, who will reportedly receive a recall for the 2014 World Cup?
“At first I thought he should go, then I reconsidered. It’s too much responsibility and if things go badly, they will blame him. That can be a problem for Francesco.
“Naturally, Brazil are the hosts, so they are the favourites. Then there are Argentina, Spain, Holland, Portugal... It won’t be easy.
“You win with organisation. We finished games in 2006 with four strikers and Pirlo, so I wouldn’t say we were defensive.”
Zinedine Zidane was sent off in that 2006 Final and will also be taking part in tomorrow’s World Cup draw. Have they discussed that day?
“No. We both try to avoid it.”