America's Cup 2021: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli rally for showdown with Emirates Team NZ

Co-helmsman Francesco Bruni has called on his Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli teammates to grab this opportunity to win a first-ever America's Cup, when their match against defending champions Emirates Team New Zealand begins on Wednesday.

The teams meet in Auckland in the first two races of the 13-race match, after the Italian team booked their place in the clash with the Kiwis by defeating INEOS Team UK to win the challengers series last month.

"Everything has been fantastic, the whole campaign so far," Bruni tells the America's Cup's official website. "There's been a lot of work, but a lot of rewards as well.

"The final goal is there, it's just behind the corner and I don't want to lose this opportunity.

"I know everybody on the team is going to think like me. We have to give all we have in work, concentration and we need to finish by saying we have tried everything we had.

"It's a great opportunity. We need to use it."

Luna Rossa handed Sir Ben Ainslie's British team a 7-1 thrashing in the Prada Cup to book their place in the 36th America's Cup and Bruni knows the Italians have a huge challenge on their hands, as they seek to win the oldest international event in sport.

"We have to really work on every department, there is not one that is more important than the other," Bruni says. "We know that the Kiwis are a very strong team.

"They are very good in all the conditions, so we have really focused on improving the speed of the boat, but also spending a lot of hours in the water, trying to minimise mistakes in the manoeuvres, in the starts.

"The most important one is that we don't have to feel successful, just because we won the Prada Cup.

"The most important thing was to just give one day off to the team and be back working the next day.

"On that day off, there were people working and that's a signal that we want to do more - we're not satisfied just with the Prada Cup.

"We really want to use every opportunity to win the America's Cup. It's an opportunity and that doesn't come every day."

Join us for live updates of each race in the America's Cup match, starting Wednesday, March 10.