Giorgio Chiellini reveals Italy had “prepared a completely different approach and line-up” against England.
The 2-1 victory in Manaus was achieved despite losing Mattia De Sciglio and captain Gigi Buffon.
“It wasn’t easy, as we had prepared with a completely different approach and line-up until two days ago. De Sciglio’s injury meant we had to radically change everything,” Chiellini told RAI Sport.
Chiellini had to move over to left-back, bringing Parma’s Gabriel Paletta into a centre-back role.
“We felt the effects of that in the first half against a fast-paced England side. Over half-time the Coach gave us the indications we needed to adjust and we were able to do really well in the second half.
“We suffered under pressure, as is only normal at a World Cup, but we kept the ball and deserved the victory.”
Buffon sprained his left ankle during last night’s training session and was unexpectedly ruled out of the opening World Cup match.
“It was a huge shock. I must praise Salvatore Sirigu, as he played with remarkable cool and was always calm. It’s tougher for a goalkeeper, as he’ll go to a World Cup expecting never to play.
“As for Gigi, his words and his smile in the locker room before the game were very important for us. Nobody wins a match by themselves, so the whole group came together to achieve this.
“Clearly his words scared everyone, but I don’t think his injury is that serious. We’ll give him some time to recover and then he can lock down the goal again.”