The final quarter-final of Euro 2012 gets underway on Sunday evening as England and Italy go head to head with the pressure on, as Bet365 free bet report punters are jumping on their exclusive free bets offer on the game!
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Both teams have great expectations having progressed from their group and this is likely to be an extremely tense affair.
With each manager liking to adopt a solid at the back, counter attacking approach, one goal could be enough to win this one.
Looking at England to begin with, they have impressed during this tournament – in spells. Over the course of the three group games, there have been encouraging moments – Andy Carroll’s header, Danny Welbeck’s maturity – but there have also been worrying signs.
During the first half against Ukraine for example, England were all over the place at times. However, they didn’t concede and ended up topping Group D with seven points.
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Now, it is about progressing to the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1996. To do that, Roy Hodgson’s men must hold their nerve and continue to believe in themselves.
Team news wise, the only possibly change could be Theo Walcott coming in for James Milner. This would be an attacking switch from Hodgson, something which could cause the Italian’s problems.
As for Italy, they find themselves in a similar position to England. Prior to the tournament, expectation levels were low. Now though, after a solid start, they find themselves two games away from the final.
Italy haven’t done themselves justice since winning the 2006 World Cup and this is where they hope to put this right. It is the time for a new hero or two, perhaps in the shape of Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli who will line up against club team-mate Joleon Lescott in a fascinating battle.
Elsewhere, Andrea Pirlo is a man England will have to keep quiet. He has been extremely influential for the Italians so far and Scott Parker may be asked to adopt a man-marking role on the creative Juventus man.
Overall, it should be an extremely competitive encounter between two famous European football nations. Kick-off is at 7.45pm on Sunday evening.