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Sep 28, 2010

Prandelli warns against Italy qualifying complacency

Despite guiding Italy to the top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group C after two games, Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli has warned his players that qualification for the tournament will not be a walk in the park.

Italy followed up a narrow 2-1 victory against Estonia in their opening match with a crushing 5-0 defeat of minnows Faroe Islands, and lead Serbia by two points at the top of Group C.

But with potentially tricky matches away to Northern Ireland and at home to the Serbs coming up in October, Prandelli insists the Azzurri cannot afford to be complacent.

"First of all we have to qualify for the finals and if we think that'll be easy then we're very much mistaken," Prandelli told fifa.com. "To achieve that goal we'll have to show both quality and character.

"Once we've qualified we'll have time to think about the final tournament, but we need to completely focus on the obstacles immediately ahead - the rest will follow in due course.

"We want to narrow the gap with the top teams, but it's not easy. I think that the key is to try and play quality football, football with imagination. In my view that's the path we need to follow.

"When you aim to keep possession of the ball and you play to win the game, that's when the victories really start to come your way. The rebuilding work doesn't start with the senior national side alone though.

"We have to put in the work right from the bottom, with the kids. I'm convinced that at the moment the right steps are being taken, but it's a process which will take time and requires patience."

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