Wayne Rooney predicts tight quarter-final between England and Italy

 

England striker Wayne Rooney believes Sunday's Euro 2012 quarter-final with Italy is balanced on a knife-edge.

Whilst most fans - and manager Roy Hodgson - were relieved the Three Lions managed to avoid Spain by topping Group D, four-time World Cup winners Italy hardly represent a soft option.

Rooney knows all about Mario Balotelli following his exploits for Manchester City, while Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo have been top stars for many years now.

Antonio Cassano has also impressed, on the field at least.

Little wonder Rooney concludes the game in Kiev is too close to call.

"Italy will be a tough game," the Manchester United forward told FATV. "We will have to be at our best to win it.

"They are quite similar to us in the way they play and have match-winners in Balotelli and Cassano.

"Pirlo is also great player. I would say it is 50-50 going into the game."

Rooney expects to make a more consistent contribution than his effort against Ukraine.

Even though he scored his 29th international goal, Rooney showed definite signs of rustiness on his first start in five weeks.

However, he feels his performance will get better.

"I was in and out," he said.

"A couple of times I was a bit sloppy with the ball. That is only get better for playing the game.

"I am happy with the goal and happy I got myself a few goalscoring opportunities.

"I wanted to repay the manager for sticking with me. It probably wasn't an easy decision to bring me to the Euros so for him to bring me straight back into the team and then to score was a great feeling."

Rooney was also full of praise for skipper Steven Gerrard, who was awarded the man-of-the-match prize by UEFA after being the architect behind his third goal of the five in England's campaign so far.

"Steven is leading by example," said Rooney.

"His performance in Donetsk was once of his best in an England shirt.

"It is important he keeps playing the way he is because he is a massive player for us."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence