Daniele De Rossi has considered Italy’s ‘Tikitalia’ nickname and talks of the importance in the Azzurri holding a ‘strong core’ of players.
The Azzurri’s possession-based performance in defeating England in their opening World Cup fixture last Saturday led to the team’s style being labelled as ‘Tikitalia’, a play on the ‘tiki-taka’ best associated with Spanish football.
“It's a funny name, but it’s better suited to Spain for what they've done in recent years,” De Rossi has reflected in conversation this week with FIFA’s official website.
“They have more possession of the ball and all those quality players. Maybe we have less quality, less control than Spain, but we also perhaps have other resources.
“We have a good defence and we're a team with strong and explosive strikers.
“Spain sometimes use midfielders in attack, so we’re a bit different, but we're starting to resemble them and we have some midfielders that have brought about a change in the way we approach the game.”
De Rossi was asked of Cesare Prandelli’s preparation with the Italy squad for this summer and the tactical variance that has been presented recently.
“We're not just training for the World Cup now, we've had months and months of preparation. He tested various systems, even during the play-offs, and explained it all to us.
“Our players are not only strong technically, but also tactically. They are very experienced and can adapt to anything the Coach asks of us.
“Has it been hard to take on new concepts? In the end it is not a matter of having to learn, but only to adapt to new positions, especially when you are defending.
“And that’s down to your ability, the way you move on the field. The ball is still round and the routines are the same as when you play for your club. It’s not like we are doing somersaults on the pitch.”
The Roma man was asked of the importance still in finding continuity on the pitch.
“It is important to have some sort of ‘solid core’ in a national team, that group of four, five, six players who have been together for a few years.
“Those players, having gone through various experiences and even a World Cup, can help the new and younger players who come in.
“Balotelli, Verratti and Darmian are a few of the new players, but there are many others, such as Insigne and Immobile etc.
“It’s easier to integrate these players because there’s already a strong structure in place, a solid group that can help make the step up smoother for the youngsters.”