Euro 2012: Hart looking to progress
- Thu 21 Jun 2012, 12:54PM
- Posted by Chris Eccles
Joe Hart has been on press conference duty for England ahead of the game against Italy on Sunday.
And the Three Lions' last line of defence was roaring his belief that Sunday's quarter final with Italy will not be the last chapter of his Euro 2012 story.
"It is a great achievement to top the group," he told the assembled media. "The first game against France was key and although we wanted to win, it was a good draw followed by two excellent wins and a good start for the team.
"We have come here to win games and make people proud and I think we have executed our game plans well.
"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."
The City keeper denied that the pressure is off now that England have reached the last eight and revealed that he may be in line to take a penalty if the need arises.
Predictably the Mario Balotelli question was raised but when pressed for an opinion about his City teammate Hart refused to be drawn
"Mario is a great player and it will be interesting to play against him for the first time. It's probably more important that Joleon [Lescott] knows him," he ventured. Mario is what he is and we love him for that."
"Italy are a very good side with good players, whether Mario starts or not."
Having palmed the intial question aside Hart was pressed on a comparison between Balotelli and England striker Wayne Rooney.
"They are two totally different guys albeit with immense talent," he declared. "The tabloids have taken a keen interest in Mario outside of football but he has broad shoulders and just lets these things slide."
The knock out stage of the competition raises the spectre of penalties and Joe revealed that he researches the opposition penalty technique by watching videos on the day of the game.
The possibility of an influx of England fans for the quarter final was welcomed by Hart who was keen to point out that small corner of England fans against Ukraine were a great help and "meant the world to the players."