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Pirlo kicks the sun

The Toe Poke

Prandelli confident ahead of draw

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli says he would have preferred to be one of the seeds in Friday's draw for the World Cup finals, although he still expects the Squadra Azzurra to rise to the occasion, whoever they face.

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FIFA's complicated ranking system sees Italy narrowly miss out on a place among the top eight nations in Brazil next summer, but Prandelli says he will use the challenge as an inspiration to lift his team.

"Of course we would have been happier to be among the top seeds, but given our character, maybe it is better this way," he said at an awards ceremony in Florence. "We'll be looking to do something extraordinary no matter what."

Italy could potentially find themselves in a group with the hosts, France and the U.S., while there are other perilous variations due to a ranking system which has come in for widespread criticism, not only from the 2006 winners.

"Of course I think they should reconsider the way in which the groups are drawn up because we're now in a difficult position for the draw," added Prandelli, who was nevertheless warmed by the form of his side in qualifying.

"Italy played great qualifying phases," he added. "We qualified with two games to spare, which had never happened before."

Before drawing up his final list of 23 players for the World Cup, Prandelli says he will also clarify his own future with the president of the Italian FA, Giancarlo Abete.

Before booking a ticket for Brazil, Prandelli had hinted that he may step down after the tournament next July.

"We will go into the tournament with everything clear and transparent," Prandelli said on Monday. "We will all have our ideas clear before the World Cup."


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