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Italy midfielder Alessandro Florenzi: No surprise at our work rate vs. Belgium

Alessandro Florenzi says that the fact Italy ran more than any other side in the opening round of matches at Euro 2016 was no surprise, given the preparation Italy have made for the tournament.

The statistic which revealed how the Azzurri had collectively covered over 11 kilometres more than their opponents Belgium in Lyon -- and more than any other side so far in France -- raised a few eyebrows.

Given how hard they have worked since meeting up on May 18, Florenzi says such figures were to be expected, and can be expected in every game Italy play in France.

"When you run together, you run together for one objective and you can run 100km and it's never a struggle," Florenzi said at a news conference in Montpellier.

"You are all pursuing the same objective so you almost don't feel it. Let's hope it continues for more games."

Florenzi was not on the field in Lyon, but the fact he was only just recovering his voice for Tuesday's news conference was evidence enough of how he, and his teammates, had got involved in their side's win from the bench.

"When we scored the second goal, the referee could have booked all 12 of us on the bench," admitted the Roma midfielder.

"But we knew that if we'd been on the field, those off it would have done the same. The team comes first and this is a thought I also have at club level."

Florenzi will only need to regain full use of his vocal chords for when Italy take to the field again, saying that any word spent off the field only carries any weight if it is backed up with facts.

"Italy has a history and not the one that maybe the papers were saying of us before the European Championship," he said.

"They were writing that we're poor, that we're not going to go through, that we will lose all of our games, that we don't have technical qualities.

"Lots of people are now eating their words. We've just got to deliver the facts and let the others do the talking. Some of the credit must go to the coach too for instilling us with his values and all we have to do.

"He told us not to think much about words, or rather that we need to confirm them with facts."

His other conversations will be on the telephone to his wife, who gave birth to a daughter two days after Florenzi had arrived in Montpellier. The 25-year-old broke off from Italy's preparations to witness the birth, and said it was an unrivalled experience.

"[Becoming a father] was the most important moment of my life," Florenzi said. "It sounds clich├ęd but it isn't. I'm really proud to have had this event which will improve my life, my wife's life and my parents' life."