Genoa defender Mimmo Criscito has warned Italy not to take World Cup opponents New Zealand lightly.

Criscito spots New Zealand's danger in the air and insists the new Azzurri generation is already making its mark.

"It is very satisfying for me to be here and it was all made easier by the veterans helping me to settle in," explained the young Genoa defender who surprisingly started the 1-1 draw with Paraguay.

"There are many youngsters in this Nazionale and the renewal is already in progress. Fabio Cannavaro encouraged us all and said to play without fear.

"I dreamed of the World Cup as a child and I remember watching the 2006 Final at home with my parents. At the time I was still playing for the Genoa youth team."

On NZ, he added: "They are strong from free kicks and in the air, we studied the side closely. They are not to be underestimated."