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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on