Gabriele Marcotti has explained England’s “catenaccio” tactics and why the British media is treating Italy "as if they were Luxembourg.”
Although Marcotti is most often seen in the UK and America giving his verdict on Italian football, he spoke to RadioCalciomercato.it to reveal the other side.
“Italy and England are two teams who have left their football roots far behind in this tournament,” he said ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2012 quarter-final in Kiev.
“Cesare Prandelli’s Italy played good football, while England have been transformed into a catenaccio-style entity that only plays on the counter-attack. It will be interesting to see this stylistic contrast on Sunday night.
“Do England have an Italian identity? It’s a classic 4-4-2 and pretty basic. They got this far with a bit of luck and a relatively easy group.”
The tabloids seem very happy to be drawn against Italy in the knockouts and Marcotti believes their reaction has been entirely predictable.
“As usual, they are going through a pretty familiar sequence of events in England. They didn’t want Roy Hodgson, as everyone hoped for Harry Redknapp. They all expected a first round elimination, but now they’re through to the next round they are already talking about a semi-final against Germany, as if Italy were Luxembourg.
“That’s what they are like in England. Their emotional state flies from one extreme to the other.”
Mario Balotelli is seen as the danger man by many in the tabloids thanks to his time at Manchester City.
“I watched Italy against Spain and Croatia, so I think Balotelli did his part, despite a few mistakes. He hasn’t done anything that bad in terms of his behaviour, plus he scored a goal.
“In my view, Balotelli is the right choice against England. I think John Terry will take care of Balotelli, whereas Joleon Lescott is more mobile and could track Antonio Cassano. Italy are not only Balotelli.”