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Italy have been better than England so far, argues Bonucci
Posted Friday, June 22, 2012 by Goal.com

In drawing with Spain and Croatia, and defeating Republic of Ireland, the Juventus defender believes the Azzurri have played better football than Roy Hodgson's men

Italy have been better than England so far, argues Bonucci

Leonardo Bonucci believes that Italy's performances in Euro 2012 so far have been superior to those of quarter-final opponents England.

The Azzurri progressed to the knockout stages behind defending champions Spain in Group C, while Roy Hodgson's side topped Group D ahead of much-fancied France.

However, Bonucci believes his side have played the better football to date and is therefore in a confident frame of mind ahead of Sunday's meeting with the English in Kiev.

"In terms of performance, we've probably been better than England so far in this tournament," the Juventus defender told reporters on Thursday.

"But the thing is, if you want to achieve a good result, you must be clinical in front of goal. You have to play your own game and be convincing in everything you do."

Italy's preparations for the game have been overshadowed by reports that enigmatic striker Mario Balotelli does not feel a part of the squad, but Bonucci insists the rumours are without foundation.

"I think Mario is integrated," he stated. "Yesterday, for example, he was smiling and joking around with [Antonio] Di Natale.

"I think Mario is a great talent and when he played as he did against Ireland [on Monday], he can really prove the difference."

Italy's eagerly-awaited last-eight encounter with England will kick off at 19:45.

    Rank Team W/D/L Pts

    Cities & Stadiums

    The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments

    Year Winners Runner-up Third place
    2008SpainGermanyRussia / Turkey
    2004GreecePortugalNetherlands / Czech Republic
    2000FranceItalyNetherlands / Portugal
    1996GermanyCzech RepublicFrance / England
    1992DenmarkGermanyNetherlands / Sweden
    1988NetherlandsSoviet UnionItaly / West Germany
    1984FranceSpainDenmark / Portugal
    1980West GermanyBelgiumCzechoslovakia
    1976CzechoslovakiaWest GermanyNetherlands
    1972West GermanySoviet UnionBelgium
    1964SpainSoviet UnionHungary
    1960Soviet UnionYugoslaviaCzechoslovakia