Emanuele Giaccherini attributed Italy's 2-0 win over Spain to coach Antonio Conte's emphasis on preparing for every possible scenario before the Euro 2016 clash.
The new Chelsea boss has been lauded for the quality of performances he's been able to extract from a squad that was given very little chance to achieve success in the tournament.
Following the Azzurri's shocking victory over La Furia Roja on Monday, Giaccherini heaped praise on Conte.
"We prepared for this game in the tiniest details throughout the week and the coach gave us the right indications to beat what I think is one of the best teams in the world," he told Sky Sport Italia.
"We legitimised the victory with many chances that we wasted, so it should have been more than 2-0.
"Today I made the speech to the players before the game, telling them we needed heart, because tactics can only take you so far, and we had heart. A different player makes the pre-match speech every time, as we are a group and everyone plays their part.
"We suffered against Spain only towards the end of the second half, as we got too deep and they have exceptional players, but we had so many chances and could certainly have finished it earlier."
Italy will now face another mammoth challenge as they take on Germany in the quarter-finals on Saturday.