Antonio Candreva admits tonight’s World Cup game with England is “without doubt the most important moment of my career.”
The Lazio attacking midfielder is expected to start for Italy in Manaus at 23.00 UK time (22.00 GMT), in what will be his 20th cap.
“It is my first experience at the World Cup and this is a pretty strange time, but I am relaxed and can’t wait for the game with England to start,” he said in a Press conference.
“It is without doubt the most important moment of my career. This is going to be a unique emotion.”
Candreva’s work-rate is the main reason he was chosen in Italy’s XI, especially in the hot and humid conditions of the Arena Amazonia.
“The stadium is beautiful, but we hope the real heat will be coming from the fans. The state of the pitch had been described to us as in worse condition than it really is, so we can play a good game here.
“At Coverciano we prepared for the humidity by training in the ‘Manaus Hut.’ We’re ready for the atmospheric conditions and know what we’re going into, so there are other things to worry about...”
The team worked in a specially-constructed sauna known as the ‘Casetta Manaus’ to acclimatise to the conditions.
This evening rain is expected in Manaus with 89 per cent humidity.