Giorgio Chiellini believes a difference in fitness levels was one of the main reasons why Italy lost 2-1 to Argentina on Wednesday.
“Argentina have some really good players in attack,” the Juventus man noted. “We worked hard, but we probably paid the price for starting pre-season later than many of them.
“It was clear out there – we were always second to the ball and we were not able to stay as compact as we would have wanted.
“We wanted to beat Argentina because it is important to do so in games like this.”
Chiellini, who celebrated his 29th birthday this week, was partnered in central defence by Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi.
“Daniele has the quality to play in that role,” added the former Livorno and Fiorentina left-back. “He’s just missing the consistency of being used there.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!