What are England’s chances against Italy?

Italy and England are actually very similar, the Azzurri came out and looked like attacking against the Republic of Ireland, and absorbed all the pressure against both Croatia and Spain in Group B.

Both sides are naturally cautious, however, England is less likely to be caught out on the break by the Italians as they would have been if it were Spain.

Wayne Rooney has been off form, what saved the day was the hard-working Scott Parker in the centre who assisted Steven Gerrard, undoubtedly, the star of the game, although Wayne’s goal obviously made the difference that’s got England through 1-0 in a tight game against Ukraine and you can’t take that away from the man.

Stakes are high in the knockout phases as the quality of the teams rise and someone will have to concede somewhere making cautious play less likely to secure a win. Ashley Young’s creativity needs to be balanced by say the attacking genius of either Oxlade-Chamberlain or Walcott on the right flank to balance the side. James Milner was conspicuous by his absence, having been criticized heavily for his lacklustre performances so far.

Even so, Roy Hodgson’s tactics have given England a positive result in the three group games, with England’s performances giving them enough to get out of a tricky group D, providing France and England as quarter finalists. Sweden’s win over France 2-0 was both unexpected and helpful as it means The Three Lions face Italy which looks far more beatable than holders Spain.

Hodgson’s stuck with the same starting XI that beat Sweden 3-2 in their last outing except for Rooney who replaced Andy Carroll. The co-hosts had 57% of the possession as England came out playing like they were looking for a draw.

Rooney’s close-range header just after the interval came about after some good play by skipper, Steven Gerrard. Andriv Shevchenko’s absence was felt by the other side as Ukraine wasted a number of opportunities. A Marko Devic strike which looked like a winner was not allowed as John Terry cleared the ball away from the line.

As long as England maintain the momentum and Hodgson gets his line up right, England have every chance of making it through to the next stage of the knockout.