Quarter-final day for England and Roy Hodgson is expected to name an unchanged side against Italy for Sunday night's game in Kiev.
Obviously the spotlight is on Mario Balotelli making an appearance against his Manchester City team-mates but, for me, the main difference between the two sides is Andrea Pirlo: the type of player England really don't have. I'm not going to go the usual route of suggesting 'keep Pirlo quiet and we can win' because, at this level, keeping the best players quiet is almost an impossibility, but I agree with Jamie Carragher's assessment that this is very much a 50-50 game with not much to choose between the two sides.
What They Say No: 2
Paolo Di Canio "England are similar to an Italian side of the 1980s."
What we think: "Great we're now only forty years behind the rest of Europe!"
If I'm honest, Italy have the slight edge as they can create better openings than England, but there is a feeling that the English have the extra confidence required to make up for that. Roy Hodgson does seem to have instilled some belief and determination in the English side that has been lacking for...errr...the best part of 40 years and, whatever happens, there is a feeling that we can push on from here. It's no way to judge the result of a football match, I know, but I just think we're owed one for once.
I'm not going to allow this blog to become the ramblings of a man repeating what you can read elsewhere, so I'm going to keep this short and admit I'd not put my mortgage on a result either way in this one but I at least hope England make a game of it - you listening France? - and come out with our heads held high either way.
The main issue for me is where to watch the game. My Italian friend has suggested we go to Little Italy but he's broken off radio contact since Friday and I'm wondering if he's now decided that might not be such a good idea after all. Any offers anyone? There are two days rest after the game anyway so expect a match review on Monday, hopefully I'll be too delirious for typing on Sunday night!
Come on England!