Italy full-back Cristiano Biraghi dedicated his winner against Poland to former Fiorentina teammate Davide Astori.
The duo played together in Florence last season before the defender’s sudden death in March, and Biraghi was quick to pay tribute to his fallen friend.
“Astori is a part of me, just like all my Fiorentina teammates and all those that played with him,” he told Rai Sport after Sunday’s match.
“Having known him personally, it touched me even more. I dedicate this goal to him because it’s thanks to him that I am here.
“He taught me so much.”
Biraghi’s late goal ensures Italy will not be relegated from League A of the Nations League, and he believes the Azzurri are headed in the right direction.
“It was just like against Ukraine: we created chances, their goalkeeper was the best player on the field and we couldn’t score,” he added.
“They countered well but the victory is deserved given the work we are putting in.
“It was the same thing against Ukraine on Wednesday. After a while you start to lose your cool, but we did well until the end.
“I am very happy. This is a win for the group, for Italy. We are die-hard, always fight and must continue like this. We are a strong group of players.”
Italy’s next match is against Portugal on November 17.