Croatia star Ivan Rakitic believes Italy's blend of youth and experience will prove a potent mix at Euro 2012.
The Sevilla midfielder will face the Azzurri on Thursday when the 24-year-old and his team-mates aim to build on their opening win over Republic of Ireland.
Another victory would see Slaven Bilic's Croatia book a place in this summer's quarter-finals with a game to spare having yet to play defending champions and World Cup holders Spain.
But Rakitic knows Italy pose a threat through a team which combined the likes of 33-year-old 2006 World Cup winner Andrea Pirlo and 21-year-old Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli against Spain.
"I know the quality of Spain and Italy - that the Italians have experience and were world champions, while Spain are currently the strongest team around," said Rakitic in association with adidas.
"On the day you have to be 100 per cent ready and you have to be self-confident.
"These teams have a great chance of doing well at the tournament so we need to be at our best.
"I think Italy will be very strong at this tournament.
"They have a good mix of youth and experienced players who have been to many tournaments, so they will be tough opponents for us."
Ivan Rakitic wears the adidas Predator Lethal Zones which have five super-light (SL) rubber and memory foam 3-D zones, each designed to support perfect ball control. Visit www.adidas.com/football