Former England captain David Beckham has argued the midfield contest will decide his country’s Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy.
Beckham believes the two team’s lead midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard will be crucial in Sunday’s match.
“They are two of the best midfielders in the world,” Beckham said.
“Whoever plays well is going to set up the team to win the game.”
The former skipper, who now plays for Los Angeles Galaxy, has backed England to beat Italy and advance to the semi-finals.
“We’ve definitely got a chance of beating them,” Beckham said.
“I hope we do, and then we go up against the Germans in the semi-final which would be nice.”
Expectations were low for England before the tournament kicked off but Beckham has been impressed by how the team has performed.
“They are battling, they are playing exceptionally well,” Beckham said.
“They are showing a togetherness which is obviously important, a lot of character.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids in the team with a lot of pace.
“They are all performing, and the manager is making the right changes at the right times.”
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