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No World Cup dream till after group phase: Prandelli

05 May 2014 21:01:58

No World Cup dream till after group phase: Prandelli

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said he does not expect his players to harbour big World Cup dreams until they make it out of a "particularly tough" group phase in Brazil.

Prandelli, speaking to Raisport, steered Italy through a largely successful qualifying campaign to claim their World Cup ticket with two games to spare.

Italy will open their campaign against England in Manaus before hosting Costa Rica in Recife and then hosting Uruguay in Natal.

The Azzurri handler indicated that it will only be time to start dreaming of any kind of success if Italy progress from Group D and into the second round.

"We know we're in a particularly tough group, our first objective is to qualify from it and then we'll see," said Prandelli.

"Only once we have qualified from our group can we start to harbour any real ambition."

Prandelli said he had already decided on most of the 23 players he would take to Brazil, and added the squad "will be composed of three goalkeepers, seven defenders, eight midfielders and five strikers.

"In my head, I already have 18 or 19 players for sure. The others will be evaluated during our preparation phase."

Italy, who won the last of their four World Cup titles in 2006 but crashed out at the first round in 2010, are set to spend several days at their Coverciano training camp near Florence in a fortnight.

Last month Prandelli said he would not be taking veterans Francesco Totti or Luca Toni to Brazil and indicated he would not be swayed.

"We started a programme in recent years based on developing youth and we want to push that forward," added Prandelli.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi -- who only returned from a four-month injury lay-off on Saturday when he made a 20-minute substitute's appearance in the 3-1 Cup final defeat to Napoli -- would have to prove he is fully fit.

"After four months on the sidelines, we have to see if he has totally recovered," said Prandelli.

"Despite all the love I have for him as a player, we're going to the World Cup and I have a responsibility to everybody.

"We have to have guarantees on various points."


AFP

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