England vs. Italy: Predicting Both Starting Lineups for Euro 2012 Quarterfinal

Greg Probert@@GregProbertFWContributor IIJune 24, 2012

England vs. Italy: Predicting Both Starting Lineups for Euro 2012 Quarterfinal

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    The fourth quarter-final tie of Euro 2012 is nearly upon us, and it's a fascinating looking encounter between England and Italy.

    The bookies can't separate them, and both teams are priced at around 9/5 with most bookmakers.

    Pundits take a similar stance and expect it to be a close game, with a penalty shootout looking a possibility.

    Roy Hodgson will want to avoid this at all costs, so what team will he pick to defeat the Italians and what players will take on the task to beat England and make the English fans wait another two years for any hope of an international trophy.


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    Likely starting XI


    Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole,

    Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Young,

    Rooney, Welbeck.

    England have been setting up in a 4-4-2 (ish) formation, but with Rooney and Welbeck playing off each other the front line becomes more staggered.

    Rooney didn't exactly light up the game on his return against Ukraine, he got his goal but let's be honest, a blindfolded Mido could have put that away.

    But the signs are positive for England, they have performed better than I expected, and haven't let all the injuries to key players effect them as seriously as it might have done.

    Italy have always been known for their defensive play but I think the Manchester United forward duo will fancy their chances of causing them difficulties at the back.

    England's main concern could come in the form of the controversial figure that is Mario Balotelli.

    If he's in the mood then he can be unstoppable, and the fact that he will be coming up against his Manchester City teammates will surely only spur him on.

    Overall I think England's team will remain unchanged from their last group game and depending on how the game goes we will see cameos from Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.


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    Likely starting XI


    Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Balzaretti

    De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo

    Balotelli, Cassano

    Italy have been changing their formation around quite a bit, but they usually set up in a 4-3-1-2 formation with Motta or Montolivo playing in behind the front two.

    Cesare Prandelli has the team playing as a tight unit, and he will want his main man in midfield, Andrea Pirlo to be on top form.

    When Pirlo plays well, it seems to up the performance levels of all the players around him and he leads by example on the pitch.

    With Pirlo attempting to pull the strings in midfield and provide service to the two front men, England are going to have to be very wary and not get caught napping in defence.

    With Giorgio Chiellini out of the side with a thigh injury, his Juventus teammate Loenardo Bonucci is likely to step in but this is still a massive blow for the Italians.