Italy coach Cesare Prandelli says he is relishing the prospect of sending his side out to play at the “finest stadium in Italy” when they meet the Czech Republic in tomorrow night’s crunch World Cup qualifier in Turin.
The 56-year-old has guided the Azzurri to the brink of qualification for next summer’s finals in Brazil and is confident the allure and atmosphere offered by Juventus Stadium will be enough to inspire his team to clear the ultimate hurdle.
Speaking to the media in Turin, Prandelli began: “We’ll be playing in the finest stadium in Italy and perhaps in Europe. It’s always full and many want to come here and see the national side who haven’t played in Turin for a while. We’ve witnessed extraordinary enthusiasm so far and I’m convinced it will be the same tomorrow night.”
The Azzurri could become the first European nation to book their place in the World Cup finals on Tuesday, yet Prandelli was quick to warn of the strengths possessed by the visitors.
“Teams from Eastern Europe are on an upward trend when compared to a few years back. We’ve fashioned ourselves a one-off opportunity thanks to our good performances and, in certain games, thanks also to Buffon’s great saves.”
The final word of this evening’s press conference could only belong to the Italy and Juventus captain, who is poised to equal Fabio Cannavaro’s all-time national appearance record of 136 caps when he runs out on home turf tomorrow night.
Buffon concluded: “A second World Cup victory or a Champions League triumph with Juventus? I’d like to win both, bringing happiness to both Juventus fans and the entire nation as a whole.”