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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thursday 23rd May 2002

Christian Vieri has played down talk that Italy are among the favourites for the World Cup, even though he believes the Azzurri are stronger than four years ago.

"Being one of the favourites doesn't mean anything," he said. "This team is great but it's by no means certain that we'll reach the final. We could still go out in the first round.

"In 1998, everybody considered our match against Chile to be an easy clash and we went close to losing against (Marcelo) Salas and (Ivan) Zamorano's side. There are no simple matches."

The Internazionale forward scored five goals at France 98 before Italy lost on penalties to the hosts in the quarter-finals, but he believes the team are better equipped this time.

"We're a superior team to the one at the last World Cup," he said. "This time we have one champion more than before: Francesco Totti. In France, it was the first World Cup for most of us, but that's all in the past.

"Now we're here and we want to win. I want to show that Italian football is not in crisis, despite the fact that it's a long time since we won a major competition."
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