The victory over Euro co-hosts Ukraine helped England avoid meeting reigning champions Spain in the quarter-finals, but that may not necessarily be a good thing seeing they will face in-form Italy instead.
The Three Lions were not expected to mount a serious title challenge after having three important players withdraw because of injury, especially as Wayne Rooney was also unavailable for the first two games.
Realizing that his team was going to struggle in the build up play without the likes of Lampard, Barry and Rooney, Roy Hodgson opted for a defence-minded approach and his tactics has produced excellent results so far.
While England certainly did not dazzle in the group stage, the Three Lions managed to win no less than 7 points and thus beat France to the first place in the group.
In all fairness, the team did look extremely vulnerable at the back at times and completely out of ideas up front, but they showed enough character and some quality to go this far.
England are now 2.90 (19/10) with BetVictor to beat Italy in the quarter-finals, and such high odds could be worth a shot.
There are no doubts Roy Hodgson will opt for a defence-minded approach once again, meaning that exciting wingers Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott will be left on the bench.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-1-1): Hart – Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole – Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Young – Rooney – Welbeck.
Italy have had their share of problems in the preparations for the tournament finals, but Cesare Prandelli’s side did well to overcome all the worries and they are now in a position to fight for a place in the semi-finals.
Impressive showings against Spain and Croatia were not properly rewarded as the Azzurri could only take two points from their first two games, but they then beat Republic of Ireland in their final group game and thus managed to qualify for the next round.
Cesare Prandelli’s side surprised everyone with their attack-minded approach, something that we couldn’t see under his predecessors, and the best thing here was that the back line remained as solid as ever.
Even though they were not seen as one of the title contenders before the tournament started, I dare say this is one of best Italy teams over the last decade and I am certainly tempted by odds of 12.00 (11/1) offered at William Hill on Azzurri.
On the other hand, Italy are 2.00 (1/1) with bet365 to make it to the semi-finals and earn a mouth-watering clash with Germany.
Giorgio Chiellini has been ruled out with a thigh injury and he will be replaced by Leonardo Bonucci, while Thiago Motta is doubtful with the same problem.
Mario Balotelli is expected to return to the starting line-up, with Antonio Di Natale dropping to the bench.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-1-2): Buffon – Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Balzaretti – De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio – Montolivo – Cassano, Balotelli.