Carlo Ancelotti has called on Italy to believe in their chances of winning the FIFA World Cup™, even though Cesare Prandelli's side enter the tournament in unconvincing form.
The 2006 champions' preparations included draws with Republic of Ireland and Luxembourg, plus failure to convince despite beating Brazilian club side Fluminense 5-3.
However, the Real Madrid coach has urged the four-time FIFA World Cup winners to pull in the same direction and take inspiration from his side, who won the UEFA Champions League last season.
"When you take part in a World Cup there is always a lot of excitement and tension and everyone needs to chip in if you want to achieve something big," said Ancelotti in a letter published in La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"However, people are sceptical about our chances, and do not believe in us. Well, I can guarantee that if the team and the coaching staff stay united and all read from the same page, then the atmosphere will become more favourable, and results are more likely to go our way.
We are a strong team tactically, we are experienced and we have players that can make the difference.
"That is how Real Madrid won the Champions League. That's why now it's important to encourage Italians to get behind our lads."
The Italian accepted that Prandelli's side are far from being the tournament favourites, but also pointed out that they were unfancied before the victorious FIFA World Cups of 1982 and 2006.
Italy begin their campaign against England in the stifling conditions of Amazonian city Manaus, before facing Costa Rica and then Uruguay. "We are in a difficult group," admitted Ancelotti.
"But our opponents should be worried about our presence in it. One thing is for certain: facing Italy is difficult for every team. We are a strong team tactically, we are experienced and we have players that can make the difference."