Marco Parolo praised Italy for their “hard work in the shadows and incredible team spirit” at Euro 2016.
The Azzurri won their first two games against Belgium and Sweden, securing top spot in Group E, so Wednesday’s result with the Republic of Ireland will be largely irrelevant.
“Everyone has to bring what they’ve got to the team and that creates a mix of talents,” said the Lazio midfielder in a Press conference.
“It’s better for this Nazionale to be identified in many players and not just one or two. This Nazionale has to push forward with pride.
“If Eder’s goal had been scored by Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, people would’ve said it was the goal of the competition.”
So far none of the big nations have truly shone, as there have been many last-gasp goals.
“That’s not because they’re not playing well, but rather the average level of the smaller sides has increased. When we study the scout reporting, we see everyone has players in the best clubs.
“Everyone knows how to read and prepare for the game now, so there’s a lot more tactics than physicality in this Euros. We are fired up and in a situation where we can do well.”
Even though Italy have already qualified top of the group and know they’ll play the Round of 16 tie in Paris on June 27, Antonio Conte is not holding back.
“The Coach feels the importance of this game and our strength is the idea winning helps you to win. Conte has been hammering the Ireland match into us since the day after we beat Sweden, even before we knew the Belgium result. We want to bring home three points.”
Parolo hit the crossbar against Sweden before Eder’s last-gasp goal.
“I hope to get the ball in the net sooner or later! We are all working very hard in midfield and pressure the opposition. It’s work that doesn’t always hit the headlines, but still enjoyable and important.”
The midfield approach had to be transformed for Euro 2016 after injuries ruled out Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti.
“They sent us messages and are still a real part of this group. It’s a shame not to have them here, as they are champions, but we are proud to represent them too.
“Most of us have to work hard in the shadows and not seek the spotlight, but that’s what…