Emanuele Giaccherini may be a surprise starter against Mexico, but insists he has all the qualities needed to play for Italy.
The Juventus man can play as midfielder, winger, trequartista or part of a trident attack. He is expected to be used with Claudio Marchisio supporting lone striker Mario Balotelli in Sunday’s Confederations Cup opener.
“I never thought I’d get to play at the Maracanà, as it’s one of the temples of football, but when I step on to the field I’ll only be thinking about the match,” said Giaccherini in his Press conference.
His name is already in the record books, as he scored Italy’s fastest ever goal by finding the net against Haiti after 19 seconds in this week’s friendly.
“I am in good shape and hope to prove that on Sunday. I’m happy to be at the disposal of the Coach in moments of difficulty. I scored against Haiti and also played in that position at Juve at times, so I always try to adapt.
“Those of us who are less experienced look to Andrea Pirlo and Gigi Buffon, as they give us great confidence and that step up in quality. We have positive sensations about this tournament and are a very harmonious group of players.”
Italy are in Group A along with Japan, hosts Brazil and tomorrow’s opponents Mexico.
“It will be difficult against Mexico and we expect a high tempo,” continued Giaccherini.
“If I play, then it means Cesare Prandelli saw me in good shape. I have a lot of stamina and pace, so I am good for pressing the opposition. With this system we’ll have to find space between the lines to support Mario.
“It’s true I am only 1.67 metres tall and nowadays football is very physical, but I make the most of my other qualities: pace, technique and stamina.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition  - £10,000 to be won!