Italy coach Roberto Donadoni praised the attitude of his side after they beat France 2-0 to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.
Donadoni's side went through with the win as Romania lost to the Netherlands and the Azzurri will now play Spain in the quarter-finals on Sunday night.
"This was a great response from the entire team," said Donadoni. "Our enthusiasm and spirit pushed us forward, even when it all seemed lost at one point."
Andrea Pirlo put Italy ahead from the penalty spot after Eric Abidal was red-carded for a foul on Luca Toni.
Daniele de Rossi's deflected free-kick off Thierry Henry put Donadoni's side out of reach.
"It was a good performance," said Donadoni. "Perhaps we were playing better 11 against 11.
"After that, a bit of fear and nerves came in."
Romania could have beaten Italy and France to second place in Group C if they had beaten a Netherlands side managed by Marco van Basten.
The Dutch won 2-0 but concerns had been raised about how motivated they would be for a victory with the prospect of knocking France and Italy out if they had lost.
But Donadoni said: "I didn't have any doubts. I know Van Basten.
"I know what he's made of. When they asked me to call him, it seemed useless, and disrespectful to him."