Goal hero Wayne Rooney hopes England can finally break their quarter-final hoodoo in major tournaments at Euro 2012 and claimed: “I don’t think any team will fancy playing us.”
Rooney returned to the side after a two-match ban to net the only goal in the win over co-hosts Ukraine in the Donbass Arena on Tuesday night.
His 49th-minute header — his first tournament goal in eight years — earned England a quarter-final clash with Italy in Kiev on Sunday.
Rooney said: “I haven’t scored at a major tournament for a while so it was nice to get a goal which won us the game. It doesn’t matter who the quarter-final opponents are.
“The main thing was to get through the group and to finish top. We know our qualities and what we’re capable of.
“We’ve worked hard, done a lot of tactical play in training. We’re difficult to beat and I don’t think any team will fancy playing us.”
England reached the last eight in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups plus Euro 2004.
Rooney said: “I hope there is the belief we can go past the quarter-finals this time.
“It will be a difficult game against Italy and it will be quite evenly matched in terms of the way we play.
“It can go either way but we’re looking forward to it. We’re feeling confident and we’ve got players in the team who can score goals.”
Skipper Steven Gerrard admitted England had luck on their side when Ukraine striker Marko Devic’s shot had appeared to cross the line before being cleared by John Terry.
But he said: “To be successful in these tournaments, because of the standard of teams involved, you need that bit of luck going with you.
“Two years ago we didn’t get that luck with Frank Lampard’s goal, a big turning point in that World Cup game against Germany, and we ended up packing our bags and going home.
“Against Ukraine, the luck turned. But it just shows that, if you keep working hard and keep fighting, you earn that luck. We deserved it.” —