Despite struggles, Italy optimistic on arrival

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm •  Published: June 6, 2014
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MANGARATIBA, Brazil (AP) — Italy coach Cesare Prandelli doesn't appear the least bit concerned over the Azzurri's poor run-up to the World Cup.

The four-time champions arrived in Brazil on Friday following two disappointing results in warmup friendlies to make it seven games without a win.

Italy was held to a 0-0 draw by Ireland in London last weekend then conceded a late goal from Luxembourg in another draw, 1-1, on Wednesday.

"I'm thinking about the work we've done and what still needs to be done," Prandelli said. "When you know what to do it puts you in a state of great optimism."

Italy landed in Rio de Janeiro then traveled by bus to their training camp in Mangaratiba at the Portobello Safari Resort — a couple of hours down the coast from Rio — where they can both practice and sleep.

A perfect pitch resembling a golf course green greeted the Azzurri for their first training session amid thick humidity.

"The setup is perfect and the training pitch is great," Prandelli said.

"I've seen worse training camps!" tweeted forward Ciro Immobile, who topped the Serie A scoring list with 22 goals for Torino this past season.

Italy hasn't won since beating the Czech Republic to qualify in September — compiling six draws and a defeat to Spain — but after reaching the final of the 2012 European Championship, Prandelli has said he believes his squad can reach the final of this tournament, too.