Now Euro 2012 reaches the knockout stage and the possibility of penalties looms, England’s goalkeeper is confident he has the ability to save and score from the spotEngland goalkeeper Joe Hart has insisted that he is more than willing to step up and take a penalty against Italy should boss Roy Hodgson call upon him.
Having secured his first clean sheet of the tournament against Ukraine, the Manchester City keeper believes penalties could be needed on Sunday and he is willing to put his name forward.
"I'd take one of the first five penalties if they wanted me to - 100 per cent," Hart told reporters. "I’ll put my name forward. Hopefully it won’t come to that.
"I've done my research, I know where the Italian penalty takers put it but anyone could do that with a quick search on You Tube."
Having reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament for the first time since 2006, Hart revealed that the team are not content to end their run there.
"Anyone who knows us as players and our mentality, it is not a surprise [to reach the quarter-finals], it's part of the plan," Hart revealed.
"The whole point of coming here is not to keep people happy & keep the press off our backs. We've come here to be successful."
The fixture on Sunday sees Hart potentially come up against his controversial Manchester City team-mate Mario Balotelli, but Hart knows that Italy have more than the striker in their weaponry.
"Italy are good regardless of what XI they put out,” Hart added. "We don’t fear anyone. We not here to be inferior to anyone, we’re a good team. We'll be concentrating on our game and the Italian team as a squad."
Hart also took time to thank the fans for their support, adding: "Fans mean the world to us. We appreciate it’s difficult to get out here. We’ve heard of the support back home. It means a lot."