“If a few months ago you’d told me I would be starting a World Cup match against England, I’d have laughed,” said Matteo Darmian.
The Torino right-back only crept into the Azzurri scene just before the tournament and was a surprise inclusion in the final list of 23.
He has continued to impress and was one of Italy’s best performers in the 2-1 victory last night.
“If a few months ago you’d told me I would be starting a World Cup match for Italy against England, I’d have burst out laughing,” he told RAI Sport.
“I always work to improve, so I will make the most of this opportunity to do even better.”
The result put Italy joint top of Group D along with Costa Rica, behind only on goal difference.
“We were able to bring home a very important victory and must continue like this. England are a very strong side, but we went on to the field with the right determination.
“Who are the favourites? If we play with this attitude, then we can fight it out with anyone.”
Betting on Serie A? Bet365 are offering a 100% deposit bonus, up to £200 - find out more