Thursday June 12 2014
‘Italy needs a positive message’

Giancarlo Abete has called on Italy to deliver a positive message at the World Cup, but does not set them a target, nor list them among the favourites.

The Azzurri will kick off their World Cup campaign on Saturday evening against England in Group D and ahead of that the Italian Football Federation’s present has considered mood and expectation.

“We are a great national side, we are always respected,” Abete has explained to the Gazzetta dello Sport.

“The pressure, however, is only right to be there and in this case I also have it as President of the national team.

“I hope we do well as a country. It would be nice if football were to launch a positive message at this time.

“There is a different atmosphere, the World Cup has the charm of memory and now it seems after problems to have arisen, in recent days people have confidence. A few weeks ago we were worried because there was no controversy.

“The controversy over Prandelli’s squad selection was predictable. It was natural there would be some problems.

“Rossi? I am surprised but I understand the reaction.”

The FIGC demonstrated their faith in Prandelli by handing him a two-year contract extension to June 2016, before the World Cup.

“You have to have confidence and understand that in the two competitions in which Prandelli has led the national team we have finished both on the podium.

“The confirmation [from the contract extension] came for the technical results and the work done to date.

“The national team also has moral and behavioural values and Prandelli interprets them positively. It would not be fair to have his future depend only on the World Cup. The Coach has to be viewed with respect to our reality, with the players he has to work with.”

Abete considered expectations on Italy heading out to Brazil this summer.

“I have never thought of placing a minimum target, it would be a methodological error. The strength of the group is in the expectation to achieve the best result.

“Having a goal means you do not have the concentration to achieve the best result. A difficult group can empower Italy - we have the right concentration.

“We often do worse when we are favourites - after the first stage, anything can happen.

“My favourites for the World Cup are Brazil, Spain, Argentina and Germany. Brazil and Argentina because in South America a European team has never won.

“Spain have won the last World Cup and the last two European Championships and the last two European club finals they have had three of the four teams competing.

“Germany, however, if you count the average results from competitions then they have the highest average.

“We hope that we meet them again this year, as it will mean that we have gone far.”

Abete was asked about hopes in Serie A to boost national team options for the future.

“How can you convince the Italian clubs to focus on youth? With technical and economic reasons, not with discussions on national interest or unrealistic incentives, given that many of their budgets are higher than those of the Federation.”