Milan – Italy coach Cesare Prandelli admitted he will lead his side to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil harbouring dreams of victory, and hopes his players feel the same.
Prandelli last week described Group D, in which Italy have been drawn alongside Uruguay, Costa Rica and England for the opening matches of next summer's showpiece, as “difficult”.
But the Azzurri coach on Thursday said his ambitions were much bigger than simply making it to the last 16 of the tournament.
“To the players I always say if you're going to dream, dream big. And my dream is to win the World Cup,” Prandelli said at a meeting at the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).
“Thinking like this can do you good, and can be contagious. Sometimes it works, and this time it can also work.”
Four-time champions Italy kick off their campaign against England with an evening fixture amid expected hot and humid conditions in Manaus, in the north of Brazil.
Italy, who lost 4-0 to Spain in the final of Euro 2012, meet Costa Rica in Recife six days later before travelling to Natal to take on Uruguay in another early afternoon match.
Should Italy qualify for the last 16 from Group D, they will meet one of the top two teams in Group C, which consists of Colombia, Greece, the Ivory Coast and Japan.
If successful, it would go some way to erasing the memory of a winless group campaign in South Africa in 2010, a humiliation which came only four years after Italy had beaten France on penalties to win the 2006 final. – Sapa-AFP