'Within our reach': The view from Italy on the impending Euro 2012 quarter-final against England


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The Independent Football

The general feeling in the Italian press concerning the upcoming quarter-final tie against England is one of confidence.

The Italians saw France as a far greater threat and fancy themselves against England. Cesare Prandelli echoed this sentiment saying, “the greatest danger is beyond the Alps.”

England’s performances in the group games have not inspired much fear in Italy.“After seeing the three England games in this group stage, it would be wrong not to believe,” reports Gazetta dello Sport. The Italian public think that a place in the semi-final is theirs for the taking as Il Sore 24 headlines with “It is within our reach.”

The biggest concern is that England will sit back and “put up a defensive wall,” (Il Giornale)

After watching Hodgson’s tactics in the game against France they believe that England will be difficult to break-down and that the "The underestimated Roy Hodgson’ (Corriere della Sera) will make sure his players are well organised and focussed. The England manager is well known in Italy having spent time in charge of Inter Milan and Udinese and as such the Italians know that they will find it difficult to score and will have to be wary of the counter attack.

They also realise that they will have to pay close attention to Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard as England’s greatest threats. Gerrard “has impressed so far, creator of three assists in Euro 2012” (Gazetta dello Sport) and Rooney scored on his reintroduction to the team against Ukraine.

The main weakness that has been identified is the lack of pace in the centre of England’s defence. “The central pair Lescott-Terry is not very fast, and this could favor the speed of Cassano and Di Natale." (Gazetta dello Sport)

The Italians clearly do not expect much from England and believe they will progress into the semi-final with relative ease.