Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughSemi Final or flight home - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Semi Final or flight home - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Semi Final or flight home

Today is the day; the media has been building up to since Tuesday, players past and present have been talking up England’s chances, Mario Balotelli has come under the spotlight as pundits try and decipher his next move, and everybody seems to be resigned to it going to penalties; MSN have already compiled an in depth analysis of both teams records in shoot outs.

For the players, though, they have to forget the hype and focus on doing their job on the field. Both teams have players who are more than capable of winning games of football, for England read Gerrard, Rooney and Young, for Italy read Pirlo, Balotelli and Cassano. Likewise, both teams have staunch defences that the above players will find hard to penetrate.

The managers, Cesare Prandelli and Roy Hodgson, will both have their ideas as to the systems and tactics that they are going to employ to try and get the better of the opposition, and a game that is very likely to be tight could depend on the smallest tactical detail.

Questions will again be asked as to whether Hodgson starts with Theo Walcott or James Milner on the right hand side of the midfield, the pace of Walcott or the steady reliability of Milner, Walcott’s pace could prove to be a big problem for an Azzurri backline that is missing lynchpin, Giorgio Chiellini.

Meanwhile, Prandelli and his coaching staff will know that the movement of Cassano and Balotelli will be vital, they can both be lethal given time or space so Terry and Lescott will have to be alert to press the ball quickly, when either of those to have it. The Three Lions will also have to be careful to avoid giving away free kicks in dangerous areas, Andrea Pirlo is the last person you want to see lining up to take a dead ball against you.

Tonight’s game is likely to be tight (and according to MSN, Italy have the penalty advantage) so let’s hope that one England goal will be enough to win it.

Below are highlights of a successful England trip to Rome.