Emanuele Giaccherini admits Italy “did not deserve” their 4-3 victory over Japan in the Confederations Cup.
The Azzurri were 2-1 down when he won back possession at the by-line and rolled across for Mario Balotelli, forcing an own goal.
“Usually there the defender tries to put his body in front of the ball, so I went behind. I was lucky to win the ricochet, but also to believe in it. This was an important goal and the important thing was not to lose,” he told Rai Sport.
“I think the turning point was Daniele De Rossi’s goal, as if we had gone into the half-time break 2-0 down it would’ve been much tougher on a psychological level.
“The evening started badly and we have to give Japan credit for a fantastic performance, they are a really great team.
“We suffered under Japan’s pressure and they were first to every ball, so we couldn’t press them the way we did Mexico.
“Was it a deserved victory? In all honesty, no, but this is Italy and we know when to fight for a result in the moments of difficulty. A bit of fortune, refusal to give up and determination earned us the win.
“I don’t know what happened. Japan deserve credit, while we also started too sluggishly and were not aggressive enough.
“The heat was a problem, but above all the humidity, as we even struggled to breathe.”
There were two very debatable penalties, one for a Gigi Buffon tackle and another for a handling offence.
“I saw on the big screen and in honesty it did not look like a penalty against Japan. Seeing both replays, I doubt either of them were penalties,” said Giaccherini.
“The last 15 minutes were just made up of suffering. We couldn’t wait for it to end, as we were on 3-3 and going behind at that stage would’ve made it incredibly hard.
“I always try to make the most of my opportunities, but whenever I wear the Azzurri jersey it brings something extra out of me. I am representing my country and I want to do everyone proud.”