Soccer: Pirlo says Italy will take Brazil friendly seriously

Match potentially 'fundamental' for Azzurri's development

Soccer: Pirlo says Italy will take Brazil friendly seriously

Florence, March 20 - There is no danger that Italy will take Thursday's friendly against Brazil in Geneva lightly, Azzurri midfielder Andrea Pirlo said Wednesday. Italy have lost only won competitive match since coach Cesare Prandelli took over in 2010, the 4-0 defeat to Spain in the final of Euro 2012. But the Azzurri's tradition for 'not showing up' for friendlies has continued under Prandelli. They have lost seven out of the 13 non-competitive matches played under him and won just three. Pirlo said this will not be the case when four-time world champions Italy take on five-time world champions Brazil. "The game against Brazil is important, we'll be taking on a great side in a match that everyone would like to play in," the Juventus playmaker told reporters. "You don't take on Brazil every day, it's not a normal match. "It may turn out to be fundamental for our development and to be able to understand where we are at in view of the Confederations Cup (later this year) and the World Cup (in 2014 in Brazil)". Prandelli said this week that he wants his side to take this June's Confederations Cup as a serious test. The Cup, which takes place the year before a World Cup in the host nation and features the world champions and the continental champions, is not considered a major tournament. But Italy's failure at the 2009 Confederations Cup proved to be a foretaste of the then-holder's embarrassing group-stage exit at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. "Italy often do not play well in friendlies," added Pirlo, who is one of the few veterans from Italy's 2006 World Cup-winning team still in the national team. "We are never our best (in them), but this time we'll try to to do well, in part thinking of the fans. This Italy team is coming on and I think we are among the top 10 (in he world)". Italy, who have qualified for the Confederations Cup as Euro 2012 runners-up because Spain already had a slot as they are the world champs, are currently fifth in FIFA's world ranking, while Brazil are a lowly 18th.

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