Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon has claimed he would have been "carted off" if he suggested he could lead his country to European Championship glory before they reached the quarter-finals.

But the goalkeeper has now boldly declared them contenders for the title ahead of Sunday's quarter-final showdown with England. Italy have failed to kick on from winning the World Cup in 2006, getting knocked out of Euro 2008 in the last eight and not even qualifying for the knockout stage of the 2010 World Cup.

With Spain and Germany still in Euro 2012, Italy remain very much dark horses in many people's eyes. Buffon said: "I have never said that we will win the tournament because, if I had said that, I might have been carted off."

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