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The 30-year-old midfielder believes that his side are a strong unit who have the ability to compete at the World Cup due to their mix of experienced and young players

Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi believes that his side's allying of a wealth of experience to an intake of younger players has created a solid core in the national team.

The 30-year-old, who was part of the squad who won World Cup 2006, feels that the Azzurri's veterans are doing a good job of passing on their knowledge to the newer faces, with Cesare Prandelli's side among the favourites to do well in Brazil after beating England 2-1.

"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," De Rossi told Fifa's official website.

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"Those players, having gone through various experiences and even a World Cup, can help the new and younger players who come in.

"[Mario] Balotelli, [Marco] Verratti and [Matteo] Darmian are a few of the new players but there are many others, such as [Lorenzo] Insigne and [Ciro] Immobile.

"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."

Since Prandelli took over as coach in 2010, the Azzurri have altered their style of play, now offering more control and a better grasp of passing. However, De Rossi does not agree that they have directly copied Spain's famous 'tiki-taka' football, which saw La Roja win three major consecutive championships.

"[Tiki-taka] is better suited to Spain for what they've done in recent years. They have more possession of the ball and all those quality players," the Roma star added.

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"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."

Asked if he believes that being "tough" is at the core of his game, De Rossi suggested that his role requires him to be physical but that he has a lot more qualities than his tackling ability.

"Well, I don't exactly agree [that I'm tough]. I guess it depends what you mean by tough," he replied. "On the pitch, my position and my role require a physical side, constant contact with my opponent. If that's what you mean by tough, it's correct.

"But if you look at my club career, for example, I have only ever received one red card and that was eight years ago. I play fair, even though sometimes the tackles are tough!"