ROME // Italy play the Faroe Islands away tonight knowing they are closing in on European Championship 2012 qualification and could even have secured it by the middle of next week.
But centre-back Girogio Chiellini is warning his teammates that they have everything to lose if they do not approach the Faroes clash with the right attituide.
"We're playing in a typical environment that's a long way from our world," said the Juventus defender. "In these matches we've got everything to lose, but with the right approach to the match we shouldn't be at risk. The path we're on is the right one, we're calm and motivated."
If Italy beat both the Faroes and Slovenia they will have guaranteed their path to Ukraine and Poland next year from Group C.
It has been a remarkably impressive start for coach Cesare Prandelli, despite launching an overhaul of the ageing squad that failed so ineptly under Marcello Lippi at the World Cup in South Africa last year.
But while the national team has been flourishing, beating Spain in a friendly in August and previously this year holding Germany to a draw, Italian club football has been in decline.
That is something that is worrying for Chiellini, whose Juve side did not even qualify for Europe this season and will have even less chance in the coming campaign given Italy have lost a Champions League place.
"This year we've proved that we can compete with great teams such as Germany and Spain," he said. "But it's a different problem at club level. The [early] elimination of Roma and Palermo from the Europa League [already this season] should sound an alarm.
"Now we have to be careful about our Fifa ranking given the Portuguese teams are making great progress on the international stage."