Riccardo Montolivo is dreaming of reaching the FIFA World Cup final with Italy, but admits there are better sides in the competition.
The likes of hosts Brazil, reigning champions Spain, Argentina and Germany are among the favourites for the tournament, which starts next month.
However, it would be foolhardy to rule out four-time champions Italy, who often preserve their best performances for major tournaments – a point emphasised by their World Cup win in 2006 and run to the final of UEFA Euro 2012.
Milan captain Montolivo is quietly confident of going far in Brazil, though he does feel there are other teams with more quality than Italy.
“Our common dream is to get to the final,” he said. “We have to chase this dream and exceed the expectations.
“It’s a tough World Cup with many strong sides – some even stronger than us – but, as I said earlier, we are strong as well and if we play as a team we create problems for everybody.”
Italy were drawn in Group D with England, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
And midfielder Montolivo believes their opener with England on June 14 could prove pivotal.
He added: “We are more ready than two years ago. We have two more seasons together under our belts. We have been four years with Prandelli and this makes us stronger.