PRETORIA - Slovakia forward Filip Holosko believes the difference between wanting and the crippling pressure of needing to qualify for the second stage could help his team in the final Group F match against Italy on Thursday.
"Italy are under a lot of pressure now, it's supposed to be an easy group for them," Holosko told Reuters in an interview at the team's hotel in central Pretoria.
"There is a lot of pressure because they have to qualify but we don't have to, it would just be nice if we did," he added, the calming water feature on the terrace echoing his mood.
"It makes it very difficult for them."
A win for Slovakia in Johannesburg coupled with New Zealand taking no more than a point against leaders Paraguay would take Holosko's team through, an unlikely but not impossible scenario.
Slovakia cannot even contemplate an upset, though, without seriously improving their attacking after managing just one shot on target in Sunday's 2-0 defeat by Paraguay.
Having scored 22 goals in 10 qualifying matches, the steady stream has been reduced to a trickle with the likes of Marek Hamsik and Vladimir Weiss failing to provide the creativity that used to feed Stanislav Sestak and Robert Vittek.
"Of course against Italy we want to have the maximum chances we can and we are very aware of all the mistakes we made," said Holosko, a second-half substitute twice here but a good bet for a starting place if coach Vladimir Weiss shakes things up.
One of the key weapons against the world champions will be Hamsik's inside knowledge as he plays his club football at Serie A side Napoli and faces many of the Italian team week to week.
"We will have a meeting about Italian style and I'm sure Marek will help us and explain things to us," said Holosko.
"He plays in the Italian league and he will tell us how to play against them."
Hamsik himself was giving little away about what tips he would pass on, telling Reuters: "They have a very good defence and are very good tactically. It's difficult for us to reach the next stage but it is possible."