Former Italy striker Paolo Rossi believes his compatriots stand a "good chance" of winning a fifth FIFA World Cup title in Brazil.
Rossi, who won 48 caps, is a legendary player for the Azzurri, and scored six goals to claim the golden boot when Italy won the 1982 World Cup.
The Italians have won just one more since then - in 2006 - but Rossi believes the current crop of players are capable of going all the way at this year's event.
"I still believe Italy is now amid the four or five best teams in the world along with Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain," he told Perform.
"Although I think Spain cannot win again because they have already been up there for six years after winning two Euros and a World Cup.
"I think Italy has good chances, although winning in Brazil won't be easy at all."
Cesare Prandelli's men have been drawn in Group D alongside England, Uruguay and Costa Rica, and Rossi is wary of the attacking threat posed by the South Americans.
"(Luis) Suarez is a very good striker," he continued. "I like him a lot. He's an all-around striker - a striker who plays for the team - he's physical, technical, scores a lot of goals. He knows how to do everything."
Despite seeing Italy lose to both Brazil and Spain at last year's Confederations Cup, Rossi is certain the country can still compete with the best.
"Beating Brazil in their home will be an enormous challenge if we happen to play against them, but I think that Spain can't stay forever at those levels, although they are still a very good team," the 57-year-old added.
"It's normal that you fear to play against such teams, but we shouldn't be afraid. We are Italy and Italy is always amid the best teams in the world. I think that we have good chances against them."
Heat is likely to be a major factor in this year's tournament, but Rossi feels it should not have too much impact on the pitch.
"In Brazil it will be essential to find an adequate climate to recover energies between games," he added. "It will have its impact for sure.
"However, where you are there on the pitch you don’t think too much of the heat, of the 40 degrees. When you have some targets on your mind everything else is less important."
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