Hodgson: England has no fear of Italy
England boss Roy Hodgson insists his side have nothing to fear from Italy in their Euro 2012 quarter-final on Sunday.
The Azzurri are the ones with pedigree, boasting four World Cup final wins in addition to a European Championship win and an additional seven last-four finishes.
By contrast, England have only won a single major honour in their entire history and are bidding to reach a fourth semi-final.
Yet Hodgson feels there is no need for any inferiority complex inside the Three Lions camp.
"We’re not underdogs in any way," he said.
"We have good-quality players who are recognised worldwide and, certainly, would get into a lot of the top European teams.
"Spain have had a few scares along the way and Italy have been stable in their performances without actually tearing the tournament up.
"It’s been a fairly smooth process for us.
"Things were up in the air because our preparation time was so short and we lost four senior players to injury in the build-up.
"But we’ve managed to put that to one side and now it’s more a positive feeling."
As England head to Kiev after training at their Krakow base this morning, they will do so knowing they have never beaten a major nation in the knockout phase of either a World Cup or European Championship away from Wembley.
Hodgson got embroiled in similar conversations at West Brom.
And it did not stop him presiding over the Baggies’ first win at Liverpool in 45 years, a victory at Stoke for the first time in three decades, and a league finish ahead of Aston Villa, ending a 33-year hoodoo.
"All these negative statistics can only be put to bed when you get a positive one," he said.
"I came across it quite a lot at my time at West Bromwich. I got used to it.
"There’s nothing anyone can say to make a difference.
"It’s a minor form of history but it would be nice not to have that question coming up again next time."
The Football Association have 20million reasons for wanting an England win, given that is what they will pocket should Steven Gerrard end up lifting the trophy on July 1.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hodgson is not interested in such matters.
"It’s the last thing on the players’ minds," he said.
"I have no idea what it’s worth but it would mean a lot more to us as footballers if we win it, in terms of when we retire from football many years hence, to see a medal hanging round our necks."