England manager Roy Hodgson has been condemned to cramming his homework to ensure his side pass their next Euro 2012 exam in Kiev on Sunday.
Hodgson admitted he was caught off guard by the Three Lions reaching the quarter-finals as Group D winners.
Instead of facing world champions Spain on Saturday, they must tackle Italy 24 hours later. And that requires a period of intense study to make certain his pupils are fully prepared.
“Our preparation for Italy started on Wednesday,” he said. “I watched the game between Spain and Croatia rather than Italy and Ireland (on Monday) thinking Spain would be a possible opponent. I have seen Italy but I haven’t studied them and how good they are. But they have been good enough to get out of a very tough group.”
The same sentiment could also be applied to England, who are proving themselves to be a very durable bunch.
In all three group games, Hodgson’s men have found themselves under intense pressure.
Yet they have come through on every occasion, something from which their manager derives so much pride. “ France came here after going 22 matches unbeaten, Sweden are a major opponent and we were playing the host nation in front of 50,000 people.”