How would you describe the mood of the camp going into the Euros?
We can’t wait. We’re confident. Some of us were at the World Cup – not a great tournament for the team. We want to cancel those days from the memory of Italian fans and do something good for the country.
What do you make of your group?
Spain are the favourites, the others are at the same level. Every group is difficult. After the experience at the World Cup, in a so-called easy group, it's better for us to be in the strongest one…
Which team do you count as the favourites to win?
Spain, Holland, Germany. The others are a step below.
Some people have said the Euros are more difficult to win than the World Cup. What do you think?
Maybe the Euros is more difficult because we know each other very well, and it’s rare to find in this competition teams with a different philosophy of football. Every team has good tactical organisation, but sometimes to know the opponents makes everything easier.
What do you think of England’s chances at the tournament?
They have a strong team, potentially. But they will have a new coach. We’ll have to see how everything works in the coming weeks. It’s a difficult situation for the players.
Are there any young players who might be in your squad that we should keep an eye out for?
Keep an eye on Fabio Borini: he’s a player with a great future. Another could be Sebastian Giovinco.
From an individual point of view, what are your own ambitions heading into the tournament?
To perform well is nothing without the team. I hope to do my best and be successful with the Italian team.
As one of the senior players, how much responsibility do you feel to perform well and set the right example?
Nothing different for me: I did the same when I was younger. To behave in the best way is a big value for me.
Italy has a new style under Prandelli. How much of a test will this approach get against Spain and your other group opponents?
Personally, I think the big turning point was the draw with Germany. It was a friendly game, February 2011: that evening we understood we could play attacking football. But of course we have to confirm ourselves in official games.
Italy has a great tradition of defenders. Is joining the greats – Gentile, Baresi, Cannavaro, Nesta, Maldini – something you aspire to?
Of course. But it’s more than a goal, it’s a dream: to arrive close to them would be enough for me.
Interview by Alessandra Bocci.From the June 2012 issue of FourFourTwo. Chiellini wears the Puma PowerCat 1.12 boot. Visit puma.com/football
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