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ENGLAND v ITALY: Paolo predicts extra time as fans gear up for game
FOOTBALL fans from both England and Italy will be hoping their teams can say arrivederci to one another when they meet in the last eight of Euro 2012 tomorrow.
Anticipation for the game is hotting up with the town’s large Italian contingent hoping they can sweep the Three Lions aside, while England fans will pack the pubs to see if Roy Hodgson’s men can go further than many expected.
The two national sides meet at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev at 7.45pm tomorrow in the last quarter-final and it is expected to be a close affair.
Hundreds are expected to turn out at MECA as the concert venue continues to host its pizza and pint deal for Italians only, while the Steam Railway and other pubs across the town will be painted red and white.
Swindon Town boss Paolo Di Canio, who will be in Italy for the game, turned pundit yesterday to predict a close encounter between the two nations.
He said: “In my opinion England have done a good job so far although they have had a bit of luck.
“Although anything is possible, I don’t see a game where one team will win two or three nil and go through easily. It’s hot and it has been a long season for the players.
“There are some high-tempo moments but after a long season it’s hard to run, press together and counter-attack in numbers for 95 minutes at the top level. I think it will be a balanced game and in my opinion there is a big possibility that the game will go to extra time.”
And the banter has already started flying between staff at Italian restaurant Mario’s in Old Town.
Enzo Coniglio, owner of Mario’s restaurant in Old Town, said: “I think it is going to be very close because the teams are quite equal.
“It could go either way but I will still be a winner.”
Fratello’s waiter Vincenzo de Lure boldly predicted an Italian win.
He said: “I think Italy will win one or two nil.
“But for me if England win then I will be happy and I would want them to win the whole tournament.”
Yesterday, scores of angry England fans bombarded the MECA Facebook page outraged the venue was only allowing Italians in to watch the match.