Giaccherini: Italy's late winner showed 'cojones'

Getty Images

Italy are crushing claims at Euro 2016 that they are the worst team to represent the country at a major championship, but Emanuele Giaccherini says they are proving something else as well.

The Sunderland attacker, who spent last season on loan at Bologna, says Italy showed big "cojones" to score a late winner and book their spot in the round of 16.

Giaccherini and Co. sealed their 1-0 win over Sweden courtesy of Eder's goal in the 88th minute.

Italy ticked off their first goal of the tournament by qualifying with a game to spare, and Giaccherini is keen for the team to kick on after pre-tournament doubts about the quality and spirit of Antonio Conte's side.

"This Italy side prove it has cojones," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"Today's game was far more difficult compared to Belgium, as we knew Sweden would sit deep and refuse to give us any spaces. They made it hard for us to find width too.

"We felt rather nervous and anxious in the first half, as we felt the pressure of the occasion, but we did much better as time wore on and deserved the victory."