Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi feels his team may have been underestimated heading into Euro 2016.
Antonio Conte’s men claimed a 2-0 win over Belgium, one of the pre-tournament favourites, in their Group E opener on Monday thanks to goals from Emanuele Giaccherini and Graziano Pelle.
Italy’s chances were talked down in the lead-up to the European Championship, with their lack of firepower in particular criticised, but De Rossi believes Conte’s side proved plenty of people wrong with their victory in Lyon.
“This victory says that we’re a good side,” he said.
“Beforehand, people were speaking about a lot of other sides and maybe we were underestimated. But now, that will be less so.”
Italy’s defence earned most of the plaudits after the victory as they managed to hold out heavy Belgium pressure, particularly in the second half.
De Rossi felt Italy deserved their win but warned them against complacency ahead of Friday’s clash against Sweden.
“It’s always good to start well and surprise people,” he said.
“We played against a team of great quality, but we worked hard and, in my opinion, were more organised.
“We have great respect for Sweden. We’ll have maximum concentration for that game, particularly as they have [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic.”