Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Italy tend to get off to a slow start at international tournaments and perform best when they are not the favourites.
It seems incredible, but Italy aren't being touted as among the favoured for this tournament, with most bookies even listing England as more likely winners.
Insult to their ability aside, this is something that will suit Italy, because they've been building steadily to Brazil 2014 since South Africa and are good enough to fear no one come the finals.
The unsurprising favourites are the hosts, but Brazil only appointed Luiz Felipe Scolari to the bench recently, and though the early signs are promising, plenty of questions remain as to how the veteran coach will find balance in this current incarnation of the Selecao.
Argentina, likewise, look like a good bet for glory, or they would if only Alejandro Sabella could figure out how best to utilise what is an immensely talented squad.
Even the might of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Teves and Erik Lamela won't be enough to score them to glory if they continue to be as porous as they have been at the back in recent years, and as they showed at the 2011 Copa America, they have a habit of coming apart at the seams when the pressure's on.
The European favourites, Spain and Germany, will attract still more attention away from the Italians, which should leave them in a good position to settle into the tournament and grow as the competition unfolds.