Wednesday June 13 2012
Pirlo: 'Italy can go far'

Andrea Pirlo is confident Italy are “aware of our strength” going into tomorrow’s game with Croatia. “With these components, we can go far.”

The Azzurri impressed in their Group C opener, a 1-1 draw with Spain on Sunday, and face Slaven Bilic’s side at 17.00 UK time in Poznan.

“We’ve got positive feelings about this, especially after the first game,” said Pirlo in his Press conference.

“There is a lot of belief, we are aware of our strength as a team and with these components, we can go far.”

The Juventus midfielder was asked if he felt stronger now or when he first came on to the international scene.

“I don’t know. I always tried to play my way, sometimes that was good and others not so good.

“In Euro 2004 we were a young side with great forwards, but things didn’t go well. In Euro 2008 we had a lot of quality, but were unlucky in the quarter-final against Spain. Now I see a very motivated team that in my view can progress in this competition.”

Pirlo also scoffed at a question on Mario Balotelli being “a weight” on Italy’s shoulders after his miss against Spain.

“I don’t understand why anyone would consider Balotelli a weight. He is an important player, just like the others, and tries to give his best for the team.

“We have several great strikers with different characteristics in the squad and that can only be positive.

“As for in defence, Daniele De Rossi is an added bonus with his ability to play there. He can start moves from the back and has a different approach to a traditional centre-back, so brings something extra.”

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