Daniele De Rossi believes “anything can happen” at the World Cup after Italy qualified with two rounds to spare.
The Azzurri beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in Turin to secure their passage to the tournament in Brazil.
“We had a tough group with strong teams and it wasn’t easy to qualify so quickly. We changed tactics because we went a goal down, so had to make adjustments,” he told RAI Sport.
De Rossi started the game as a centre-back in a three-man defence, then eventually moved to midfield. He is one of the few remaining 2006 World Cup winners in the side.
“This team is special because it started from scratch with a different mentality and group of players, restoring enthusiasm as well as results.
“This side also plays good football. Winning is rare, but these are the players who will step forward in a bid to do it again.
“We faced Brazil on a par and played well against Argentina despite missing many players. We reached the Euro 2012 Final and only lost against perhaps the best team ever.
“As we saw in 2006, the strongest team on paper doesn’t always win, as back then France had something more in terms of individuals.
“If you create an excellent group then anything can happen.”