Prandelli: Italy can cause a surprise in Brazil

Italy can cause a few surprises at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil, according to head coach Cesare Prandelli.

Prandelli's men are seen as one of the outsiders at the World Cup behind defending champions Spain and host national Brazil, with Belgium even considered a more realistic chance.

But Prandelli has faith in his team, who have been drawn against England, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D.

"I am convinced that we will be a team with plenty of positive resources," Prandelli told Sport Mediaset following his recent contract extension.

"We want to play, be contenders and cause a surprise. We don't want to be passive.

"For the first time, Italian football is sending a different message to the one it has always sent. There is a sense of wanting to plan ahead.

"I underline that I am not superstitious. There is an exciting atmosphere within the group, without any great problems.

Prandelli added: "Rule number one is to create a strong, compact group that has the necessary technical and tactical qualities as well as the means to overcome the difficult moments that are bound to come around.

"Everyone should love the national team, this magical Azzurri shirt and the national anthem. They are things that bring emotion.

"The national team is where all Italians' passion for football comes out together, overriding all the divisions of who supports which club."

Meanwhile, Matteo Darmian is hopeful of making Italy's final 23-man squad for the showpiece event.

The 24-year-old Torino defender was rewarded for his fine club form with a spot in Prandelli's preliminary squad and he is now targeting an international debut at the World Cup.

"I don't know if I will go to Brazil," said Darmian, who has represented Italy at all youth levels.

"But I will give everything to impress Prandelli and make his choice all the more difficult.

"I'm working very hard. If I'm honest, at the start of the season I wouldn't have thought I could be a part of the national team. But now I'm proud to have been selected in this group and I want to compete for a spot.

"I know that I have no international experience as I have not played a single game for the national team. But this is all the more stimulating and it would be fantastic to play at the World Cup."