Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli says his side will be out to cause a few surprises when the World Cup gets underway in Brazil.
The Azzurri are not considered to be among the favourites for the tournament and have been drawn in a tough group alongside Uruguay, England and Costa Rica.
However, the former Fiorentina boss believes his team will make a positive impact on the competition, insisting that for the first time Italian football is starting to put a clear, long-term plan into action.
“I am convinced that we will be a team with plenty of positive resources,” Prandelli said to Sport Mediaset today. “We want to play, be contenders and cause a surprise. We don’t want to be passive.
“For the first time, Italian football is sending a different message to the one it has always sent. There is a sense of wanting to plan ahead.
“For this reason among others I accepted Federcalcio’s offer to extend.
“I underline that I am not superstitious. There is an exciting atmosphere within the group, without any great problems.
“Rule number one is to create a strong, compact group that has the necessary technical and tactical qualities as well as the means to overcome the difficult moments that are bound to come around.
“Everyone should love the national team, this magical Azzurri shirt and the national anthem. They are things that bring emotion. The national team is where all Italians’ passion for football comes out together, overriding all the divisions of who supports which club.”
Prandelli was also asked whether he felt there were comparisons between his role of national football Coach and that of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
“No, no. Renzi has a much greater responsibility than I do! He is the Prime Minister of a country while football is a game and a joy.
“At the World Cup everyone will feel like the Coach, so in that sense I could say that I will have a lot more friends than he does, but also more enemies!”
Tickets for the Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid are still on sale with reseller Viagogo - Click to find out more