Steven Gerrard is the player of Euro 2012 so far, Alan Curbishley told Sky Sports News.
The England skipper set up Wayne Rooney's winner against the Ukraine which, coupled with France's defeat to Sweden, meant the Three Lions topped Group D and now face Italy in the quarter-finals.
And, with the Liverpool talisman at the centre of midfield, Curbishley believes England can be full of confidence going into the clash with the Azzurri - and dare to dream.
"Steven Gerrard has looked fitter, stronger and sharper as the tournament has gone on," said Curbishley.
"He's been the player of the tournament. Let's hope he stays fit because he's been great for us.
"He had a lot of problems last year with different injuries but he's come into these finals looking 100% fit."
Curbishley was also relieved England finished top of their group, meaning they avoid reigning champions and World Cup winners Spain.
"I'm pleased we're playing Italy instead of Spain," he said. "Roy Hodgson only has two or three training sessions before the quarter-final and if it was Spain I think there would be a lot of work being done mentally and physically on how to combat Spain.
"No disrespect to Italy but we will now be able to concentrate on what we're doing offensively, because that is what's letting us down at the moment.
"The two wide players, James Milner and Ashley Young, are the ones people are looking at and who will come under a little bit of pressure if there are going to be any changes to the team - but you've got to remember they're also doing the defensive side, which Roy has asked them to do. When you're concentrating on that as well it is difficult to do the offensive side too.
"But we have got those impact players Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott who can come on and make a difference.
"Now we've got out of the groups stages it's up for grabs. It's at the knockout stage and anything can happen. I like the route we've got. I much prefer Italy and Germany than Spain. Let's get through the quarter-finals and then we can start dreaming."