England are gaining momentum after a slow start to Euro 2012, captain Steven Gerrard has said.
A Wayne Rooney header brought England a 1-0 win over Ukraine to top Group D, following a 1-1 draw with France and a 3-2 win against Sweden.
“No one believed in us at the start, but we’re gaining momentum as we go along,” Gerrard said after Tuesday's game, conceding that England’s performance against Ukraine was scrappy.
“The performance wasn’t fantastic but we worked hard and got the result.”
Italy await England in the quarterfinal and will be tough for England to break down, he said.
“The Italians are next, they're very strong defensively. You need a bit of luck to do well in these competitions.”
The last time that England qualified for the knockout stages of a European Championships unbeaten since hosting the tournament in 1996.