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.”

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