I managed to ask former England and AC Milan midfielder David Beckham in the Galaxy locker room Saturday how he rated England’s chances in the Euro 2012 quarterfinal against Italy today (11:45 a.m. ESPN) and what he thought could be the keys to victory:
“Of course we can win,” he said.
“We’ve done well. In certain games that we’ve played even when they’ve not played well, they’re battling … showing a togetherness, which is obviously important, we’ve got character, we’ve got a lot of young kids in the team with a lot of pace and they’re all performing.
“The manager is making the right changes at the right times and coming up against a good Italian tomorrow with players like (Andrea) Pirlo, I’ve obviously played with him, he’s one of the most exceptional passers I’ve ever seen.
“But then we’ve got Stevie G (Gerrard) who, again, is one of the best midfielders I’ve ever played with so, we’ve definitely got a chance of beating them. I would hope we do and then we come up against the Germans in the semifinal, which would be nice.
“It’s a proud time for our country. If our team does well in international competition it would be great for our fans.
“I’m sure they’ve got a huge amount of respect for each other — they are two of the best midfielders in the world,” Beckham added about Pirlo and Gerrard. “Whoever plays well is going to set up the team to win the game.
“There’s a lot of players in this game that can win it, players like forward (Antonio) Cassano, I played with him before, he’s a dangerous player. Players like (striker Mario) Balotelli, he is what he is, he’s a goal scorer and he’s been exceptional for Man. City and he scored a great goal in the last game. And we’ve got Wayne (Rooney) and other players who have been playing well like (Danny) Welbeck.”