Federico Balzaretti is confident Italy can progress in Euro 2012 because they are “remarkably fired up.”
The Azzurri reached the quarter-finals thanks to a 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland and Spain’s 1-0 win over Croatia.
“We’re never certain of winning, but we knew that we had to and gave our all. It was a positive performance and we were luckier than in previous Euros,” said the full-back.
Balzaretti had been dropped for previous games using the 3-5-2 formation, but was very effective in the new 4-3-1-2 system.
“The Coach always tests out his formations during the week, although we players are never certain until he gives the line-up.
“We are training hard and are remarkably fired up, while the day-to-day atmosphere within the squad is exceptional. It was an explosion of joy with the goals and the news from Gdansk, so it was wonderful.
“My wife and children were also in the stands, so it was extra special.”
Italy will face one from Ukraine, France and England in the next stage of the competition.
“Ukraine are hosts, so very tough, while France and England are difficult teams, so whoever we end up with is going to be tough.”