Rooney critical to England success, Chiellini out of quarter-finals and Blanc feels pressure of Spain clash
Following his winning goal against Ukraine last night, the Guardian has hailed Wayne Rooney for his calm temperament on the big stage.
The striker earned three fantasy football points for his goal and "stayed cool when it mattered to send England through", according to Richard Williams.
The vast majority of newspapers are in agreement this morning that Rooney will be pivotal to England's chances to progress even further, while Steven Gerrard is being reported as saying that he believes the team is only going to get better.
The England captain, whose two assists at the tournament have earned him four fantasy football points so far, told Sky Sports:
"It was a difficult group and the idea was to try and win it. No-one believed in us at the start but we're gaining momentum at the right time."
Meanwhile, Italy have been dealt a blow ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final clash with England.
Defensive stalwart Giorgio Chiellini has been ruled out of the game after suffering a thigh injury against the Republic of Ireland, Eurosport reports.
However, while Chiellini will miss the game through injury, Mario Balotelli could miss it for other reasons.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has said that the Manchester City striker needs to accept criticism better if he wants to start for his country, the Independent reports.
Balotelli found the net in style against Ireland but was about to celebrate angrily before teammate Leonardo Bonucci covered up his mouth to make sure any unwise words were kept under wraps.
Finally, Saturday's quarter-final sees reigning champions Spain face France, whose unexpected defeat against Sweden meant they had to settle for second place in Group D.
France manager Laurent Blanc has warned his side that they need to drastically improve their performances if they are to knock the holders out.
"You have to be optimistic to think we can beat Spain, but it's hard right now to imagine we can," Blanc told the BBC.
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