England goalkeeper, Joe Hart, has given a reminder that England are not at Euro 2012 just to make up the numbers. He feels that, having made an unbeaten start, they are genuine contenders to win the tournament.
"The whole point in coming here is not to keep people happy and off our backs," Hart said. "We are here to win."
Hart’s comments presumably refer to pundits and the media, and he was quick to state that, whatever anyone else thought of England’s chances, the team always believed.
"Regardless of what some people thought, that was nothing to do with the camp. There has been a group of people who did not think we would do well but, for anyone who knew the players, it is not a surprise and it is part of the plan," the 25 year old said.
The form of the England team in defeating Sweden and Ukraine, and drawing with France, has pleased Hart, who insists that the best football scores are yet to come from Roy Hodgson’s men. "We're growing with each game.
“We started well with the right ideas and right game-plans and we've executed them well," he said. "We are not those guys [who settle for reaching the quarter-finals] - we are winners. We want to be successful for ourselves, and make English people proud of their team,” he added.
England face Italy in the final quarterfinal of Euro 2012, on Sunday night, in Kiev. The winner of that tie will face Greece or Germany in the semi-final.
If England are to confound all expectations and win the tournament, then they will have to continue to improve; whilst they have been better than expected so far, they haven’t won anything yet.
England fans who like to watch football live will find a paradise of odds, tips, and news items on the Bet365 website.