Daniele De Rossi believes Italy are getting closer to being at the level of world champions Spain.
The Azzurri won their first match of their 2014 World Cup campaign against England on Saturday and, according to the Roma man, it was a deserved victory.
“I think it was a good game against England and we deservedly won,” De Rossi said to Sky Sport.
“The fact that Uruguay lost means the win has even more value. We have less quality than Spain but we have other qualities.
“We are a team with strong and potent attackers while Spain sometimes play with midfielders up front.
“We are different but we are getting closer. A sort of core group serves a national team well. Four, five or six players are helping the young talents that Italy has produced.”
De Rossi was also asked about the quality of Mario Balotelli.
“Balotelli has great qualities and he is discovering what he needs to do better to get the best out of himself.
“It is to the credit of Prandelli and all of us but it’s normal that sooner or later they [the qualities] will come out.”
Betting on Serie A? Bet365 are offering a 100% deposit bonus, up to £200 - find out more