Pirlo: Getting through group a must for Italy

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo regards qualification from their FIFA World Cup group stage as the "minimum objective".

The 2006 World Cup winners made an excellent run to the UEFA Euro 2012 final under manager Cesare Prandelli.

And that has raised hopes ahead of this year's showpiece in Brazil, with Prandelli's squad possessing plenty of international experience.

They were handed a tough draw in Group D, though, with matches against Uruguay, England and Costa Rica awaiting them.

Pirlo - who dismissed suggestions that the oppressive South American climate would affect his team more than any of the others – believes it would be a failure if his side did not progress through the group.

The 34-year-old Juventus playmaker told Sky Sport 24: "The minimum objective is to progress from the group stage.

"Then we will see what will happen. Brazil is favoured but in football anything can happen.

"How much will the climate play its part? A lot, but this is an important factor for us and for everyone."

Italy begin their campaign with a clash against England on June 14.