Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi has conceded that it will be a lot harder to win the World Cup this time around, but warned their rivals that the Azzurri have the mental strength to retain the crown.
"The strength of this squad is its team spirit," he told UEFA.com. “We are a great group which has a vision.”
“It's a lot more difficult to defend a prestigious title like the World Cup than to win it the first time, but the foundation is still there. A lot of players are still in the team and of course new young talented players have joined the squad as well."
De Rossi played a role in Italy’s 2006 World Cup success in Germany and concluded by recalling the moment he stepped up to take a penalty in the final against France.
"I think it's one of the biggest moments in football, and the heaviest one regarding pressure,” he said. “Taking a penalty in a World Cup final happens maybe once in a lifetime and to score it and to win the World Cup was fantastic.”
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