Former West Ham United star Alessandro Diamanti is confident “Italy are stronger than England” ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2012 quarter-final.
The current Bologna trequartista came on as a substitute in the 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland and hopes to make an appearance again this weekend.
“I could only imagine playing this game on the Playstation,” joked Diamanti during today’s Press conference.
“I never gave up when I was playing in the Interregionale amateur division and I won’t give up now. At the end of the day, if you keep the faith and have quality, you will emerge. I managed it, but I know that I can do much better.
“Now that we’re here, we will do everything we can to get through the quarter-finals. English football as a business with the stadiums, everything around it and the behaviour of the fans is about 30 years ahead of us.
“However, on the pitch Italy are stronger than England and our football is of a higher quality. We respect England, but we don’t fear them.
“Andrea Pirlo is a champion and the best player in the world. Mario Balotelli is one of the 23 and gives his contribution, just as we all do. Is he motivated to be playing England? We’re in the quarter-final, of course he’s motivated.”
Diamanti was a late and for some surprise addition to the 23-man squad Cesare Prandelli brought to Poland and Ukraine.
“I get on very well with my teammates and try to transmit my positivity and enthusiasm during training. During sessions I am really fired up, but then that is our job, so no reason to be surprised by that.
“The team that impressed me the most in Euro 2012 so far has been Croatia, as they never give in and I really like that in a side.”