Pirlo to quit Italy after World Cup
Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo has confirmed that this summer's World Cup campaign in Brazil will be his last international tournament.
Pirlo, 35, signed a new two-year contract with Juventus on Tuesday, but the prolonging of his club career will come at the expense of his international commitments.
Italy get their World Cup participation underway against England in Manaus on Saturday night and Pirlo is planning for that game to be the first of seven in Brazil.
"When I play football, I always aim to go all the way," the 2006 World Cup-winner told a news conference. "I never settle for just getting through the group stage and reaching the last 16 -- the aim is always to get the maximum, which means going all the way.
"We've got a very competitive side and we'll give it our all, then I think I'll finish after the World Cup. I'm at a certain age now where it's time to move over and leave room for the others. It wouldn't make sense continuing.
"If ever there were any need for me to return, then of course I would, but if I were to come to the national team and not play, I'd just get angry. In that case, it would be better for me just to stay at home."
The playmaker's appetite would nevertheless not be satisfied with glory in Rio de Janeiro, saying he would not have committed himself to two more years with the Serie A champions if he was not hungry for even more silverware.
"It was my decision to continue with Juventus because I'm in a place where I'm feeling good and where I can still win things," he said. "And we have more objectives to aim for in the coming years."
Pirlo's priority, like the rest of the Squadra Azzurra, is to put their 2010 World Cup disappointment behind them with a win against their Euro 2012 quarterfinal opponents on Saturday.
Four years ago, they returned home from South Africa humiliated after finishing bottom of a group which included Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand. Under 2006's World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, they did not win a single game. but times have changed.
"Italy can win the World Cup," Pirlo said. "It's got to be a World Cup that we will not want to forget in a hurry.
"Italy against England have always been great games. The Euros was one thing but this is the World Cup -- things are different here. England are a great team -- they've improved a lot with some young players, but we know how to face them. We've always done well against them."