Underdogs England looking for a superhero against Italy
England v Italy (7.45pm KO, Live on BBC1)
England are 2.88 shots with Paddy Power to win in 90 minutes and book their place in the semi-final.
As far as the stats are concerned the Three Lions have managed just one win from their last nine games against Italy (D2, L6).Their last clash saw them lose a friendly in Leeds 2-1 in March 2002.
They have met at European Championship finals just once before, with Italy winning a group game in 1980 1-0.
Italy also have the better form when it comes to quarter-final encounters in major championships.
They have only been knocked out two of the nine occasions that they have reached this stage – both times on penalty kicks.
That’s much better than England who have lost 7 out of 10 when playing in the last 8.
However on current form there is little to choose between the two sides in what is likely to be a low-scoring affair.
Both base their play around having a strong defence, and in it would be no surprise to see what promises to be a real tactical battle go into extra time.
However England would certainly not want it to go to penalties as they have won just 1 of their 6 previous shoot-outs at major tournaments, when beating Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 1996 after a 0-0 draw.
What is important is that they get more shots on target in a bid to get that vital opener which could well seal victory.
Roy Hodgson’s men did not register a single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes against Ukraine, and that is simply not good enough.
Wayne Rooney, who marked his return to action with a goal in that game,has now scored 29 international goals and needs one more to go joint-fifth on England’s list of top scorers.
In the hope that England can get the job done in normal time, I am going to suggest backing them to do so 1-0 in the correct score market at 7 with Paddy Power.