Arsène Wenger

England can continue Euro miracle

Arsene Wenger

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England against Italy is a 50-50 game. Italy are always a surprise and you never know how they will respond. They are a team comfortable with big tournaments who are efficient and who play with a very attractive style as well.

England had no expectations and are now in the quarter-final which is already a miracle for the whole country. They can create a massive surprise and go further and further.

They have lots of players who can be creative. Wayne Rooney is a striker/midfielder, he is not just a striker, and there is a good connection between their deep midfield and high midfield, between Gerrard and Rooney. Gerrard is the most experienced midfielder and the fact that Frank Lampard is not there has made Gerrard take more responsibility, more presence in the game.

Today he is a mature midfielder. He was always a great player but could not always show his personality in big tournaments. He used to take responsibility in games with Liverpool and didn't transfer that enough into the English national team. In this tournament, he is doing that and this is the first time that he is really getting to the edge where a player is mature. The fact that he is captain pushes him even more to do that.

England's success in reaching the quarter-finals is not only due to Rooney's return, because since the start of the tournament they have been courageous - from the first game against France they have defended well. They built their confidence by first being efficient defensively and more and more they will come forward with belief. You can see that now they have Rooney they can be dangerous offensively as well as defensively.

For Italy, Andrea Pirlo is the brain and the best passer in the team. I think that Pirlo is still underrated internationally. Everybody says "Pirlo is a good player" but he is not only a good player, he is a great player.

He has been so remarkably consistent during his career. However, Thiago Motta is a good passer as well, Claudio Marchisio is a good player and they have Antonio Cassano who can be creative. On the flanks, they can come forward well.

They are the only team who have played a different system from any other team. Most of the time, they play with three centre-backs and two real strikers - therefore they can surprise teams.

This tournament has shown as well that the two strikers have disappeared. Every team plays with only one striker and a congested midfield.

This tournament is the official killer of the 4-4-2 and we have assisted the creation, internationally, of a congested midfield where everybody comes very quickly when they lose the ball, and they drop back very quickly to stop counter-attacks. They defend in numbers in their half and try to come out quickly. There is a lack of strikers in the competition.

Predicted line-ups:

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