Martinez believes Italy will be hard task

Roberto Martinez thinks that England’s quarter-final opponents Italy will use the match-fixing scandal in their country to become stiff opposition for the Three Lions.

The Italians suffered similar problems in 1982 and 2006 and won the World Cup throughout those circumstances, so are no stranger to adversity. England go up against the Azzurri on Sunday looking to reach the semi-finals of a major competition since Euro ’96 and many are confident of their ability to dispatch a much unfancied Italy side. Martinez does not believe the task will be as simple and Italy are a side who can trouble Roy Hodgson’s side.

Martinez said: “Something like that (the match-fixing) can really affect other teams, especially how your fans feel towards you, but that doesn’t happen with Italy. They are real fighters and they are ready to battle the odds. I think that’s what is going to happen now. I think what is going on Italy at the moment will help to galvanise the team and their style of football will be very difficult to compete against.”

The Wigan boss has a concern over their group of players, who have not played together for a while, and England must use their experience to overpower the Italians. Hodgson’s team have avoided reigning European champions Spain by finishing top of their group, but Martinez thinks that Italy can cause a real danger in the competition.

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