Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio warns Italy “have more creativity,” but England can do damage with Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney.
The former Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Charlton fan favourite cast his eye over tonight’s Euro 2012 quarter-final for Italian newspaper Tuttosport.
“Italy struggled against Ireland, but proved they were more adaptable. England cannot afford to keep the tempo too high after a very tiring season and that can be an advantage for the Azzurri.
“The English will have heart, grit and determination. We have more creativity with Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Cassano.
“Italy have to be worried about the one-on-one for Leonardo Bonucci, as individually he tends to struggle. Welbeck and Rooney are frightening on the counter-attack and especially in the final 30 metres, as they know each other and can combine well.
“Steven Gerrard is the usual leadership figure. He can’t keep a high tempo anymore, but all he needs is one long pass to make the difference, as he showed against Sweden. It’ll be a great battle of the minds in midfield with Pirlo.
“The England weak point is their defence, especially John Terry, if we slice through the midfield with good movement. This is why I’d see Antonio Di Natale doing well in this game.”
Di Canio admits he was surprised when Roy Hodgson was given the England job and has not been entirely impressed.
“Everyone expected Harry Redknapp, although looking back you can see he never worked at a top international level, whereas Hodgson has.
“England thought about a project with a four-year contract and nobody expected Hodgson to settle in so quickly.
“They play like Italy in the 1970s and 80s, focusing on the counter-attack to make the most of their potential. Now we need to see how they fare in a knockout match, in or out, where tension and grit really count.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!