(ANSA) - Rome, May 16 - Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has warned his men not to underestimate England, less than a month before the two national sides meet in their opening World Cup group match.
"England are not as bad as they portray them, on the contrary," Prandelli said in an interview published in Friday's La Gazzetta dello Sport.
England are widely considered to be a declining force in world football and many Italian commentators were not displeased when the Azzurri were drawn in Group D with them, as well as Uruguay and Costa Rica.
But Prandelli was quick to disagree with this view, saying he thought Italy's group was one of the toughest.
The coach told Gazzetta that he fears Uruguay too, above all for their offensive potential.
"Uruguay have the best attacking pairing at the World Cup.
(Luis) Suarez and (Edinson) Cavani are modern strikers and they are always dangerous," said the coach.
Prandelli has said that if the World Cup were a Formula One grand prix, Italy would be in the third row of the starting grid, behind the four or five favourite outfits.
Nevertheless, he said he was hopeful of going all the way in Brazil.
"If we get through the group, we have to be ready to reach the final," he said.
"I want to get to the final". Prandelli's preliminary 30-man World Cup squad will meet at the Azzurri's training base near Florence on Monday to start their pre-tournament training camp.