24th of June 2012 Author: Glo Wood
England have exceeded the expectations so far by topping Group D, but the toughest test is yet to come as they face the 1968 winners, Italy, with a place in the semi finals at stake.
Here are the probable line ups:
Hart - Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole - Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Young - Rooney, Welbeck
Buffon - Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Balzaretti - De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio - Montolivo - Balotelli, Cassano
England coming from two consecutive wins in Group D and they will have Wayne Rooney in attack again after the Manchester United striker scored the decisive goal against Ukraine. Ashley Young's presence in the starting eleven is uncertain after he had taken a knock in the last group match while on the other flank James Milner could retain his place in front of Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. There are no problems for Roy Hodgson in defense except a treatable toe infection to Glen Johnson.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will probably utilize the same 4-3-2-1 setup that won them the match against Ireland but he will be without defender Giorgio Chiellini who has a thigh problem and could miss the remainder of the tournament. Midfielder Thiago Motta is in doubt as he skipped a recent training session and he could be replaced by Alessandro Diamanti or Riccardo Montolivo. Mario Balotelli should be first choice in attack after scoring a superb goal in the previous match.
There are no suspended players for the match but the list of those who are one yellow card away from missing the semi final is quite long: Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Young for England and Balotelli, Federico Balzaretti, Leonardo Bonucci, Daniele De Rossi, Christian Maggio, Montolivo, Thiago Motta and Gianluigi Buffon for Italy.
Here are the odds for the game from Bet365:
England - 15/8
Draw - 15/8
Italy - 15/8
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