England finished top of Group D after a 1-0 win against co-hosts Ukraine to set up a match against Italy in the last eight.
Giorgio Chiellini has been ruled out with a thigh injury for Italy, so Juventus team-mate Leonardo Bonnuci will likely replace the three-time Serie A Defender of the Year at the back, in what is expected to be the only change for the Azzurri. Italy conceded just twice during qualification, but quickly matched that tally during the group stage at Euro 2012, although Roma’s midfielder Daniele De Rossi has deputised at the back in the absence of Andrea Barzagli.
Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo made more successful passes this season than any other player in Europe’s top leagues and the partnership with Claudio Marchisio in the centre of the park is a key area for the Italians. Three of the Azzuri’s four goals have been scored via set-pieces and the ability of Pirlo on the ball will clearly be a big danger for England.
England have a disappointing record in the quarter-finals losing seven of 10 matches at the World Cup and European Championships, but Roy Hodgson has galvanised the Three Lions into a well organised and compact unit. Captain Steven Gerrard has been instrumental, providing all three assists for England so far, whilst Glen Johnson and Scott Parker have produced good and committed displays for the Three Lions. Wayne Rooney is likely to lead the line, although calls still remain for Theo Walcott to start in place of the ineffectual James Milner on the right of the midfield.
Given the tactics and organisation of both teams, a tight and low-scoring encounter looks likely in Kiev on Sunday.
Under 2.5 Goals (England v Italy) @1.53
£50 Free In-Play Bet on England v Italy
Place a pre-match bet on the England v Italy game and bet365 will give you a free In-Play bet to the same stake. To qualify for your free In-Play bet, simply place a bet before kick-off, then once the game starts place another bet on any In-Play market. If your FIRST In-Play bet loses then bet365 will refund this stake, up to the same value as your largest pre-match bet (max £50).
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/philosophyfootball/