Pirlo focused on Uruguay win, not Azzuri retirement
Posted under: 2014 FIFA World Cup, Italy, Italy News, News, Uruguay, Uruguay News
Pirlo, who played a pivotal role in Italy’s last World Cup triumph in 2006, announced last week the 2014 finals in Brazil would signal his last outings for Italy.
But ahead of a “make-or-break” clash against Uruguay in Natal on Tuesday, the 35-year-old Juventus midfielder said he is concentrated only on making sure Italy claim a morale-boosting win against their south American Group D rivals.
“My only focus now is on winning this game and keeping us in the competition,” said Pirlo.
“I haven’t even begun to think about the future.”
With Costa Rica already through and England eliminated by the Italians’ defeat to the central Americans in Recife, Italy and Uruguay — who both have three points — have been left to battle for the second qualifying spot.
But due to Uruguay’s inferior goal difference, they need a win if they are to have a chance of repeating their exploits of 2010 when coach Oscar Tabarez steered the 1950 champions to their first semi-finals appearance in 40 years.
Striker Luiz Suarez, who hit a brace in a 2-1 win over England, said Uruguay will look to capitalise on “tired” Italy’s struggles with the hot and humid climate, as well as their shaky defence.
“Italy have been fatigued by the heat, so we have to capitalise on the space that could open up,” Suarez was quoted as saying in www.gazzetta.it.
Pirlo, a two-time Champions League winner with former side AC Milan, claims Italy are not worried, but he admitted: “All World Cup games are important, but this one’s like a semi-final or a final.
“It’s not causing us too much concern, but of course it’s a fundamental game. It’s make or break.
“Obviously it would be a huge disappoinment for the whole squad if we didn’t go through to the second round.
“But we have the capabilities to win this game. We won’t be going out there looking to draw.”
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