Euro 2012: Last eight preview
- 20 June 2012 16:43
- Posted by David Clayton
England’s victory over co-hosts Ukraine at the Donbass Arena marked the end of the group stages of Euro 2012 and completed the line-up for the quarter-finals.
By topping Group D, England have avoided current world and European champions Spain, and instead face Italy in Kyiv this weekend.
England are quietly confident about their chances of progressing further and go into Sunday’s game with no injury concerns plus an extra day of rest, while Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini is likely to miss out after picking up an injury against Ireland.
One of the game's most intriguing battles could be between Joleon Lescott and Mario Balotelli - and imagine if Joe Hart has to face a Mario penalty - is there any keeper who has faced his technique more often than Joe?
France’s ‘reward’ for their surprise 2-0 defeat to Sweden is a clash with Spain, though Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque is wary of the threat the French pose and claimed Les Blues are the most difficult opponents his team could have ended up with.
The fate of the sides in Group A and B had already been decided on Sunday with Portugal taking on the Czech Republic in Warsaw on Thursday and Germany playing Greece the following evening.
Germany’s impressive performances in the ‘Group of Death’ mean they are now favourites to win the tournament with leading scorer Mario Gomez in red hot form.
The chances of Greece repeating their Euro 2004 success appear slim, despite producing the surprise result of the tournament by knocking out Russia.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s scintillating display against the Dutch is bad news for the Czech Republic with the prolific Real Madrid striker appearing to hit peak form at just the right time.
Should Portugal reach the semi-finals, they will play the winners of the France-Spain clash, while England could face Germany if Roy Hodgson’s side can see off the Azzurri.