Paper round: Just one goal-etto

Sunday's newspapers aren't so much reports about the latest England v Italy news as excitable fanzines cheering for the national team.


The Sun on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror both run front page stories getting behind the teams, and both play on the Italian angle for all they're worth.

The Mirror taking top honours for Photoshopping Wayne Rooney into a Venetian gondolier, with a speech bubble singing: "Just one goal-etto / Give it to me / A win for England / Ciao Italy!" in reference to the classic 1980s Cornetto adverts.

The Sun has a big picture of Steven Gerrard on the front page with "Caesar the Day" its Italian-baiting headline.

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The Independent on Sunday also leads its coverage with a full-page picture of the England captain with the headline: "This time it's going to be different". The article below, in common with the piece in The Sun, picks up on Gerrard's comments on Saturday that it's frankly about time England got to the last four of a tournament once again.

Several other papers pick up this line, with The Sun's "No regrets" headline on the back page reflecting Gerrard's stated desire to leave everything out on the pitch.

The Sunday Express's front page reports that even the Royal Family is getting in on the action and, "is throwing its support behind the England football team."

The Queen is apparently "expected to keep in close touch" with the game, though only via her footmen apparently. Come on, Your Maj, we know the BBC coverage hasn't been great but surely you can put up with Alan Hansen at half-time for the sake of actually seeing the match?

Mario Balotelli crops up in several of the papers, with both the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday leading with the player's promise to have "fun" against England. The Times calls it "laying down the gauntlet", while the Mail goes with "Mario taunts Roy's heroes".

The Mirror, meanwhile, moves the same story on a little by quoting Gary Neville warning England's players not to let the Italians wind them up and get sent off in the process. "Keep calm and carry on," is their headline, though given that this is now a Roy Hodgson side through-and-through we see little danger of people getting flustered.

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Italy have been fiercely secretive of their tactics and team line-up, with Gazzetta dello Sport lamenting that Cesare Prandelli refused to have his players to a full training session in Kiev in case he gives anything away to the England set-up.

As for England's side, The People reports that Rooney and Danny Welbeck will once again start up front for England, while Hodgson is apparently to make a late decision on whether to stick with defensively-solid James Milner on the right ahead of Theo Walcott. Ashley Young's place seems assured despite his quiet tournament so far.

As for who will actually win? Ian Holloway in the Sunday Mirror and Duncan White in the Sunday Telegraph both predict that if Gerrard continues his inspirational form then England will go one step further in the tournament.

In the Observer Dominic Fifield claims that Hodgson's knowledge and experience of Italy might be the clinching factor in an England win, while in the same paper David James suggests that Hodgson's ability to keep the England camp harmonious could be critical. Gary Neville's comments in the Sunday Mirror suggest that things are going well on that score, praising the "squad without egos" and adding that, "They are all as one."

On the continent, Italy's papers strike a similar note, with Repubblica leading on Cesare Prandelli's statements that his team "will play without fear" against England. In Germany, however, nobody seems to care who wins: the papers are too busy continuing their love-in session for the national team following their superb win over Greece on Friday and praising Jogi Loew's tactics.

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In other news, the Star on Sunday reports that Manchester City are to offer David Silva an amazing new deal worth £52 million to stick with the Premier League champions in the face of interest from Real Madrid. That's five years at £200,000 a week on the table for the 26-year-old.

Real are also linked with a bid to sign Carlos Tevez, according to The Sun, with City happy to sell as they try to prise Robin van Persie away from Arsenal with a £20m bid.

The Sunday Mirror reports that Gareth Bale will stick with Tottenham for at least one more season despite the disappointment of losing out on a Champions League spot.

And his manager at White Hart Lane could be France coach Laurent Blanc, who is apparently in talks to take over at Spurs. Andre Villas-Boas and Schalke's Ralf Rangnick are also still in the running.

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