England will face Italy in the quarter finals of Euro 2012. After a nervous win against Ukraine, Roy Hodgsons men will now travel to Kiev to take on the Italians this Sunday. The odds are England will need another big slice of luck if they are to book a place against Germany or Greece in the Semi-Finals.
By topping group D England avoided a clash with the pre tournament favourites Spain in the Quarter Finals. However, the prize for winning the group was a match against the Italians – never an easy prospect.
Whilst it's true that the Italian squad assembled for Euro 2012 isn't one of the strongest the country has ever produced. They're still capable of beating anyone on the day. Nevertheless, England will take heart from some recent poor performances by the Italians, notably in 2011 when they only managed to score one goal against the Faroe Islands in a Euro 2012 qualifier and in 2012 Italy suffered a moral shattering 1-0 defeat by the USA, losing in Genoa for the first time since 1924!
So far Italy have failed to impose themselves in the tournament, drawing 1-1 with Spain in their opening game and again 1-1 with Croatia, before winning their final game against group C whipping boys Ireland 2-0. On the other hand England have surprised fans and pundits with credible performances against France, Sweden and Ukraine.
It's unlikely that the Italians will attack in numbers, that's just not the Italian way! Expect a tense defensive display, so far England manager Roy Hodgson tactics have proved spot on. I think he will opt to shadow the Italians, knowing that in Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard & Theo Walcott he has a stronger counter attacking range than the Italians.
The odds on England winning are 15/8 with the Italians priced at 13/8 with Paddy Power Bookmakers, making them the Italians slight favourites. The draw is 11/5 and probably represents a good bet. Full odds on the England v Italy game can be viewed below.