Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo believes that he is the 'ideal' replacement for the injured Andrea Pirlo.
Pirlo is set to miss the holders' opening two group games against Paraguay and New Zealand after injuring his calf in a recent friendly against Mexico.
The loss of the man many believe to be the Azzurri's creative spark will have come as a huge blow to manager Marcelo Lippi but Montolivo is confident he can fill the void.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed a solid season for Fiorentina playing in a role not too dissimilar to the one which Pirlo plays at Milan and was appointed captain of the Viola earlier this year.
"Pirlo is a special player," he said. "But I think there are two or three Italian players that can play in his position when he is missing.
"I have played in Pirlo's position this season. I believe this role suits me, it's ideal for me."
Montolivo highlights that he was a mere spectator four years ago when Italy were crowned world champions for a fourth time and is determined to make the most of his opportunity this time round.
"In 2006 I watched the World Cup on TV, now I am here," he added.
"This is the most important tournament in my career and I am thrilled. The experience of playing in the Champions League this year has given me added confidence and I am ready to have a say."
Meanwhile, Italy defender Gianluca Zambrotta believes recent criticism that the squad is too old will only spur the players on.
"We're used to the criticism, there are 1000 critics but we've always performed under criticism, it's not a problem," he stated.
"It brings us closer together and builds our spirit. It was the same in 2006, we were unfancied and people didn't even think we'd make the quarter-finals.
"It's not new, we've always been unfancied at the start and that's fine with us, we'll see what happens.
"But I'm not thinking about that, I'm thinking only about our first game against Paraguay."
Source: Sky Sports