NATAL Brazil (Reuters) - There are two World Cups going on in Brazil - one in the warmer north and another in the cooler south - and Italy are bearing the brunt of playing in the heat and humidity, midfielder Andrea Pirlo said on Monday.
Italy face Uruguay on Tuesday in an afternoon kickoff in Natal - a northern coastal city where temperatures have hovered around 30 degrees Celsius during the day - after matches in muggy Manaus and the sunshine of Recife.
"These factors are definitely important especially when you come to these countries with great heat and humidity and players more used to these conditions," Pirlo said.
"There are two World Cups. One in the north and one in the south."
Four-times World Cup winners Italy, who like Uruguay have three points from two games, need a point from their final Group D fixture to reach the last 16 as they have a better goal difference than the South Americans.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said deploying an untested strike partnership of Mario Balotelli and in-form Ciro Immobile was a possibility.
Praised for his positive 4-1-4-1 system after their opening victory over England, and then criticized for the same tactics after defeat by Costa Rica, Prandelli might switch to a 3-5-2 formation with injured midfielder Daniele De Rossi unlikely to figure.
This could pave the way for Immobile who scored 22 goals in Serie A for Torino last season and came on as a late substitute against England.
"Immobile is a modern forward who can attack in depth and can play quite broadly and he has a sense for goal," Prandelli said. "He can help the team a great deal. Nowadays if you want to be a great champion you have to have these characteristics."