England news

Spirit the key to success for Rooney

England forward convinced team can advance past Italy

ESPN staff

Wayne Rooney fired England into the quarter-finals© PA Photos

Wayne Rooney is convinced team spirit can power England to victory over Italy in their Euro 2012 quarter-final.

Rooney returned from suspension to score the only goal of the game in the win over Ukraine, a result that took England through as group winners.

Topping the group gave England the reward of avoiding defending champions Spain in the last eight. Cesare Prandelli's Italy are the opponents and the Azzurri arguably have as many questions to answer as England.

The bookmakers are finding it difficult to split the teams and against a side similar in makeup, Rooney feels the fantastic spirit that is coursing through the camp can lead England into the semi-finals.

He said: “It’s important that we believe in ourselves. We’ve a great group of players and we’re confident. It’s not going to be an easy game but we’ve the players, we’ve the belief and we’ve the togetherness to do a job on them.

“Once you get to this stage of the competition, anything can happen.”

Roy Hodgson has made a fine start to his tenure as England boss and Rooney feels the former West Brom manager has brought stability and solidity to the national side.

He said: “We’re more organised than ever. The lads have all been fighting for each other. We want to do this together, so I think we’ve a great chance. We feel good, we’ve prepared well and we’re looking forward to it.”



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