Rossi confident in young guns

Anyone who saw Italy's 3-0 victory over Korea Republic will have seen the impact that Tommaso Rocchi made to the Azzurrini. The Lazio striker, the only over-age player in the squad, combined incredibly well with junior partners Giuseppe Rossi and Sebastian Giovinco to score one goal and set up another for the victory which left the South Koreans deflated and the fans delirious.

However, that victory came at a cost. Rocchi broke a bone in his leg and has been forced to return to Italy. There was another blow to Pierluigi Casiraghi's side when it was announced that Claudio Marchisio has headed back to Europe through injury. Replacements Andrea Russotto and Antonio Candreva have been drafted in, but now the onus is on Rossi and Giovinco, together with Robert Acquafresca to score the goals.

It's a challenge which the Villarreal man has accepted with gusto, as he told in an exclusive interview. Giuseppe, since we last spoke, the team have lost Tommaso Rocchi. How have the players reacted to that?
Giuseppe Rossi:
Tommaso going home is a big loss for us. He's an important part of the team and I really enjoy playing with him. I think anyone who went to the Korea Republic game saw how well he fits into our system and what he brings to the team.

Experience plays a big part in tournaments like this and we'll miss what he brought to the team. However, it's up to us, the players that remain, to get the job done. I don't feel any extra pressure and neither do my team-mates. We know what we have to do, with or without him.

Claudio Marchisio has also gone home due to injury, while Andrea Russotto and Antonio Candreva have come in. How are they coping?
They've been with us all the time. They've trained with us, they've been with us, and so it is an easy transition for them. In some ways, while it's tough on the players who have gone home, it's great for these players to be given a chance.

What are you expecting from the game against Belgium?
It'll be a good game for the fans. We're expecting a tough, physical match. I saw them play at the European U-21s last year and was impressed. Any team who reaches the semi-finals of that competition has to be good. However, 12 months has gone by. They are a different team, we're a different team.

The team scored six goals in your three group games and didn't concede, but do you think that the contribution by your defenders has gone overlooked?
Probably some of the credit has been taken off the defenders due to the way we've been playing. But they've been great and done what they've had to do. It's been a real team effort. If you give credit to the strikers, you have to give credit to the midfielders, who have both supplied and stopped chances.

And what about yourself, are you still enjoying it?
The whole experience has been great so far. I've really loved the past two weeks. I can't get enough of it.