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With a testing UEFA EURO 2012 campaign on the horizon, defender Giorgio Chiellini believes Italy are coming to the boil at just the right time, while midfielder Thiago Motta feels that meticulous preparations will prove the Azzurri's greatest strength.
Italy failed to progress from their group at the 2010 FIFA World Cup but, under Cesare Prandelli, have rediscovered their form and a new playing style, winning their EURO qualifying section by ten points. The four-time world champions conceded just two goals and defender Chiellini considers such new-found belief to be at the root of an improvement that may just take his team far in Poland and Ukraine.
"It has been a gradual growth process," the Juventus man told UEFA.com. "To begin with we struggled a bit because it took a while to shake off the disappointment of our World Cup campaign and we had to turn over a new leaf by introducing a raft of new players.
"But then slowly but surely we began to grow in confidence and believe in ourselves and the new style of football that we were playing. The positive results also helped our cause and gave us the belief that we were on the right track."
Thiago Motta, meanwhile, thinks Italy are something of a work in progress but regards their determination to leave no stone unturned as something that will serve them well for Group C fixtures against Spain, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland.
"There is still something missing, but I don't think it's bad to arrive at EURO with high expectations," he said. "Teams like Spain, the Netherlands and Germany are the favourites, but our preparations are going really well, so that we will be 100% when we get there: that will be Italy's strength."
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