Who will challenge Germany in Euro 2012 semis?
England will take on Italy in the last quarterfinal of the Euro 2012 in Kiev on Sunday night to decide who will play Germany in the final four of the tournament. RT's Kate Partridge gave a head-to-head rundown of the two teams.
The Olympic Stadium in Kiev will host the first competitive match between England and Italy in15 years and only the second in European championship history. But after finishing unbeaten at the top of Group D, England manager Roy Hodgson says the approach to this tie will be much like the others.
England are the only World Cup winners never to have won the Euros, and lately have fallen into the habit of getting knocked out of big tournaments at the quarterfinal stage. But captain Steven Gerrard says this young team can still progress.
“The atmosphere has been superb in the squad and the confidence and the belief is there so it is just important that all the players seize this opportunity and this moment because from (my) experience they don't come round very often. So it is important that we leave everything out there (on the pitch) and we keep showing to everyone, all our doubters, and our critics out there that we are good enough to compete with the top teams at this level," he said.
The Italians are also undefeated but are missing key defender Giorgio Chiellini. Meanwhile, midfielder Thiago Motta could be forced to sit out the quarterfinal match. Coach Cesare Prandelli is aware of Hodgson’s style as the Englishman once managed Inter Milan. Prandelli won’t name his lineup until an hour before kick-off as the Azzurri aim to thwart England’s tactics.
“We have watched all of England’s previous games and know that they are one of the most organized European sides. They play within forty yards, and we need to stop them playing. They play at a high tempo, and like to put a foot in. We need to set that tempo from the start,” the Italian said.
England could face a familiar opponent, Mario Balotelli of Manchester City. The unpredictable striker scored a stunner in the 2-0 win over Ireland. And he is relishing the thought of facing some of his club mates.
Hodgson may bring on big striker Andy Carroll, while Italy have targeted Wayne Rooney as a potential English threat. If he and Balotelli repeat their domestic rivalry, it could go down to the wire – something the English and Italian fans who have already started spilling into the Ukrainian capital early wouldn’t mind at all.