Italy “will not make the same mistake as in Euro 2012” with fitness preparation, warned Cesare Prandelli.
The Azzurri have completed a two-day get-together at the Coverciano training ground in which 42 potential call-ups for the 2014 World Cup underwent a series of physical tests.
Prandelli demanded this retreat after seeing “embarrassing” differences in fitness levels with Spain in last month’s friendly.
“We know the character and willpower of the players. The sensation we had, confirmed by the statistics, was that we didn’t run as much and didn’t run well. The statistics from March made us reflect.
“We are very fortunate to be here at Coverciano for two days and thank all the clubs and the Lega Serie A for allowing us this time with the players. We’re getting an idea of the situation and can already plan individualised training regimes to refill those gas tanks that are running a little empty.
“In terms of character I can absolutely rely on these players. In physical terms these tests will be fundamental to prepare for the situation. I am convinced in terms of character we will be second to no-one.
“We went through the Confederations Cup and the players realised they need to be physically ready for those conditions.”
Prandelli insisted Italy have learned from the Euro 2012 experience, when they started strong and ran out of steam in the Final, where they lost 4-0 to Spain.
“Our fitness preparation will be based only on getting through the group. However, we hope to go all the way and will not make the same mistake we did at Euro 2012, which was taking it one game at a time. The most important thing is to be absolutely ready for the opener with England.”
The Coach was also asked about his tactical choices for the tournament in Brazil.
“We have some ideas, but they need to be accompanied by something concrete. We want to get the best out of our characteristics. The quality of our midfield can be an extra weapon.
“Obviously the League gives you teams who have played in the same way from the start of the season. As for the Nazionale, we must try to make the most of those characteristics, remembering our tactic will above all focus on the quality of the midfield.
“That means finding balance, but above all character and a strong personality in a World Cup.”