Abate wary of wingers

Italy full-back aware of the threat England pose on the flanks

Ignazio Abate: Hoping to help Italy past England and into the semi-finals of Euro 2012

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Ignazio Abate admits he and his fellow defenders will need to keep a close eye on England's wide men when they square up to Italy on Sunday.

Four of England's five goals at Euro 2012 have come from corners or crosses, and they are likely to look to the flanks for inspiration again this weekend.

Italy know what to expect, though, and are in confident mood ahead of a quarter-final showdown.

AC Milan full-back Abate, who is likely to find himself up against Ashley Young, believes the Azzurri are capable of containing England, provided they can impose themselves on the game.

He said: "England have quick players who find it easy to cross and have great attackers who are very strong.

"But, with serenity, we have to impose our game, even if we all have to suffer a bit together."

Dream

Abate concedes that Wayne Rooney is likely to pose the biggest threat to Italy's back four, with the Manchester United striker having returned to the England side with a match-winning goal in their final group clash with Ukraine.

Asked if the Azzurri can be considered favourites to reach the semi-final stage, Abate said: "I don't know. They too have great enthusiasm and an attacker like Rooney, but we are confident that we have a great squad.

"The English are physically strong. We must defend and attack well.

"They started as underdogs, but now believe they can get to the final. We too must nurture this dream.

"We have no fear. There is tension, but we need to be as relaxed as possible, and aware of our potential."