Malta manager Pietro Ghedin rates Italy in the top five countries in the world.
Ghedin is familiar with the Azzurri set-up, as he was assistant manager to Cesare Maldini, Dino Zoff and Giovanni Trapattoni.
"Italy are strong, we know that," said Ghedin in his Press conference.
"Italy are one of the top five teams in the world. Cesare Prandelli is doing exceptional work and deserves all the praise.
"We are small and must simply try to do well, that is all."