Pique: We must turn off 'Telli to beat Italy
Spain defender Gerard Pique believes his side must stop Mario Balotelli (pictured) when they take on Italy in their Euro 2012 Group C opener.
The tournament holders and World Cup winners begin their campaign against the Azzurri in Gdansk tomorrow.
Pique has identified the Manchester City forward as one of the Italy players that could cause his side major problems this weekend.
The Barcelona defender expects to be in for a busy afternoon.
"We will have to keep a very close eye on him," Pique said. "Balotelli is a player that can win you a game.
"He is a player that can take the ball and score when you least expect it."
Italy go into the encounter at the PGE Arena with their preparations having been affected by the latest match-fixing scandal to hit the nation.
On the pitch, the Azzurri lost 3-0 to Russia last week -- their third straight friendly defeat -- in their last test before the tournament, but Pique is even more wary of a wounded Italy.
"Italy are more dangerous when they appear not to be," Pique said. "They are going to be a very difficult rival that will qualify and will be fighting for the tournament.
"It seems as Italy is hurt, not focused, but that is not the case. Just when you think they will not do a good job, they do the best job.
"They are one of the top teams in Europe and in the world and we will have to be focused."
Spain knocked Italy out of the Euro 2008 tournament in a quarter-final penalty shoot-out.
Pique believes his team can go all the way in Euro 2012.
"It is important to start with a victory and against the other favourites in the group," he said. "I think if we play as we know how, we can win this tournament."
Pique insists Spain can cope with being favourites.
"We are optimistic, but we will take it one step at a time," he said.