Ignazio Abate believes Wayne Rooney and England’s other strikers are a threat to Italy, but that a place in the final is not beyond Italy.
Sunday night at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev sees the last quarter-final of Euro 2012 played, when Group C runners-up Italy face Group D winners England.
Ahead of that encounter, Milan full-back Abate took questions from the assembled media. Reflecting on the strengths of both teams, the 25-year-old began by answering if he felt that the Azzurri were favourites to progress to the semi-finals.
“I don’t know. They too have great enthusiasm and an attacker like Rooney, but we are confident that we have a great squad,” he suggested at a Press conference this Thursday.
“We have always played with the ball on the ground, starting from the goalkeeper, although it is not always easy. The English are physically strong, we must defend and attack well. They are good on the flanks and counterattack. They have great strikers in the penalty area, we must impose our game and when we have to suffer, we will suffer.
“They started as underdogs, but now believe they can get to the final. We too must nurture this dream.
“We have no fear. There is tension, but we need to be as relaxed as possible, and aware of our potential.”