While a World Cup always brings an air of frenzied anticipation in Italy, goalkeeper Gigi Buffon believes his team should be expected to triumph in Brazil.
Buffon was part of the Italy side that won the World Cup in 2006 under the guidance of Marcello Lippi and remains the Azzurri's first choice goalkeeper.
Fresh from a record-breaking Serie A title win with Juventus, Buffon could be forgiven for being bullish about Italy's World Cup chances, but instead he is cautious.
"We have grown in important ways along the journey and we hope to reach our peak in Brazil.
"Of course if you want to win the World Cup you have to beat big teams like Spain, Brazil and Germany but they should also know that they have to beat Italy and that won't be easy."
Italy are commonly listed at around 25/1 to win the competition behind France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Argentina and Brazil.
Many in Italy feel that the sternest test will be getting through the group stage with England, Uruguay and Costa Rica to navigate.
But Italy weren't favourites ahead of 2006 and managed a remarkable series of wins that lifted a nation and restored confidence in football after the Calciopoli scandal, which saw Juventus relegated to Serie B.