Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli was impressed with the attitude of his players after they secured a 3-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Armenia on Friday night.
Andre Pirlo handed Italy an 11th minute lead as he netted from the penalty spot but Armenia levelled before half-time as Henrikh Mkhitarian struck.
However, the Azzurri rallied in the second period with Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo sealing their second win in Group B to ensure they top the standings after three matches.
After the match, Prandelli, whose side take on Denmark on Tuesday, told figc.com: "As I've said before, our group is a difficult one and tonight proved that.
"We played a good game, showing a lot of character and taking a few risks. They came at us a few times but we always had control of the game and were clinical in front of goal. We started well and created four great chances on goal early on.
"The team showed the will to win right until the very last minute and that kind of attitude is very important."
Zenit St Petersburg defender Domenico Criscito, meanwhile, was delighted to return to the international set-up after a lengthy absence.
"It's difficult to come back after six months away but wearing the blue shirt again was incredible," he added. "We played a great game, we started very well and we almost always had possession of the ball."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report