Gniewino: Spain defender Gerard Pique says opening Euro 2012 rivals Italy are never as dangerous as when they appear to be down, so there will be no underestimating them on Sunday in Gdansk.
Italian football is currently in the doldrums owing to a match-fixing scandal, which led coach Cesare Prandelli to consider withdrawing the national side from the Euros.
But Pique says Spain must be on their guard as they seek a third consecutive major title - which would be a first.
"It seems Italy have been destabilised and have their heads elsewhere.But those are the circumstances in which they are at their strongest," insisted the Barcelona defender.
"I am convinced that Italy will be a very complicated opponent to play against and that they will qualify for the quarters," Pique told reporters.
The "Calcioscommesse" match-fixing allegations have made all the headlines and Prandelli withdrew Domenico Criscito, a Zenit St Petersburg-based defender implicated in the scandal.
But with the matches starting attention is now beginning to switch to the event itself and Pique says Spain will be on their guard.
At the same time, the Spanish see their last meeting with the Azzurri as hugely significant as it came in the shape of a quarter-final win on penalties at Euro 2008.
Pique reckons that game was a turning point in Spanish fortunes as they finally laid to rest their quarter-final hoodoo after a series of exits in major tournaments at that stage.
"I think we changed our mentality with that game. Before then, when Spain got to the quarters we played not to lose. Since then, we play to win."