Saturday June 23 2012
Hodgson: 'England not Italy underdogs'

England manager Roy Hodgson is confident his side are “not underdogs in any way” against four-times World Cup winners Italy tomorrow.

The teams go head-to-head in the Euro 2012 quarter-final on Sunday evening in Kiev.

“We're not underdogs in any way,” assured Hodgson.

“We have good-quality players who are recognised worldwide and, certainly, would get into a lot of the top European teams.

“Spain have had a few scares along the way and Italy have been stable in their performances without actually tearing the tournament up.

“It's been a fairly smooth process for us. Things were up in the air because our preparation time was so short and we lost four senior players to injury in the build-up. But we've managed to put that to one side and now it's more a positive feeling.”

England have only ever won one major trophy, the 1966 World Cup on home turf, while the last time they reached the semi-final was also on British soil in Euro 1996, losing to Germany on penalties.

“All these negative statistics can only be put to bed when you get a positive one,” claimed former Inter and Udinese Coach Hodgson.

“It's a minor form of history but it would be nice not to have that question coming up again next time.”

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.