Francesco Totti believes that England will prove a "difficult" obstacle for Italy to overcome in Kiev on Sunday night, but the World Cup winner is confident that the Azzurri can progress to the semi-finals of Euro 2012.
The Roma captain feels that Cesare Prandelli's troops deserve credit for emerging from a group containing Spain, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland, but is well aware that the going is about to get much tougher for the Nazionale.
"Italy has had a good Euros up until now," Totti told Sky Sport Italia. "It was important to get through the first round.
"But the knockout phase begins now and the match against England will be difficult, but Italy can do well."
Totti was speaking over the phone from Sardinia, where he is currently on holiday. However, the trequartista explained that he has been keeping himself in shape because he knows that he is in for a punishing pre-season with the Giallorossi's new coach, Zdenek Zeman, who has returned for a second spell at the Stadio Olimpico.
"Now it is all beginning again, and the training will be tough," Totti mused. "Fortunately, I know Zeman well and I know what I'm in for. So, I try to get myself ready for the start of pre-season."
Totti was capped 58 times by Italy before deciding to retire from international football after the 2006 World Cup triumph in Germany.