Cesare Prandelli has conceded that Italy face a tough task in defeating Spain in this week’s Confederations Cup semi-final.
Group A runners-up the Azzurri will face off against Group B winners La Roja in Fortaleza this Thursday in a repeat of last summer’s Euro 2012 Final, which ended 4-0 to the Spanish.
“Spain are in much better shape than us, given the ease with which they qualified,” reflected Prandelli to reporters this week, in reference to Spain’s wins in the group stage over Uruguay, Tahiti and Nigeria.
“They have a clear identity and are clear favourites.
“Spain are the best team in the world and they have proved that over the last four or five years.
“They are almost impossible to beat. One would never like to play them, but we have to and I am convinced that we can make it difficult.
“This challenge always creates great motivation.”
Italy’s preparations for the game have been hit with Mario Balotelli’s withdrawal from the competition through injury.
“You have to take these things in the right spirit, we are working in a serious way and we are in the semi-finals, we are in a position of privilege.
“Without Balotelli we will focus even more on the collective team spirit and the development of the attacking play.
“We have to get into ours heads that we will suffer against Spain, that their possession of the ball will be higher than ours, and that the Spaniards are phenomenons who can cope with any kind of trap of opposing teams.
“They are good at keeping the ball and attacking, we have to try to make them run as much as possible. I would like to see an Italy as brave as that of the second half against Brazil.”