England’s Chow Down in Kiev

Azzurri tackle Roy Hodgson’s England in Kiev with the winner getting the privilege of taking on the mighty Germany on Thursday.

Wayne Rooney is well polished up having been a bit rusty mid-week. He marked his comeback recently in fine form with a superb goal on Tuesday against Ukraine, sending England through triumphantly as group winners. After eight years without a goal up until he tapped one in, he made a big statement in a big tournament.

Tonight’s quarter final between England and Italy is going to be close with England driving a good pace down the flanks, hitting the Italian side when needed, forcing Cesare Prandelli to get his players defending well. His 3-5-2 formation will continue to work well for him, the spotlight will be no doubt on Mario Balotelli, partnering Antonio Cassano. Whether he or Wayne Rooney has the better game could be the match decider.

Italy has been impressive, their match against Spain saw Danielle De Rossi in excellent form as a makeshift sweeper and both he and Andrea Pirlo will be plotting England’s downfall all the way.

Gerrard’s vision and awareness more than compensates for his slow down in the middle of the park, he has still got his touch providing defence splitting passes which will be crucial tonight if England are to win.

Roy Hodgson has found a way to instill a sense of belief in the England side which is much to be admired. Ashley Young and James Milner have found a way to link up with the front men. Both Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard provide admirable security in front of the back four, all in all it’s put England second only to Portugal in being able to turn limited possession into goals, which has to bode well for tonight.

Italy are known for being well-drilled and well-disciplined and it’s England’s ability to take these attributes on board that have got them into the last eight, if they stay as disciplined and focused, it could well get them through to a match with Germany.