England and Italy are two of the giants of world football, but neither team was predicted to make much noise in the 2012 European Championships.
Both have managed to successfully navigate the group stage, England perhaps a bit more comfortably than the Italians, and now they meet in the quarterfinals on Sunday at 2:45 p.m. ET.
In 22 meetings dating back to May 13, 1933 the Italians lead the series with eight wins to seven losses. The teams have drawn six times as well, making this rivalry one of the most closely contested in the world.
The pair will add the 23rd chapter to their history on Sunday. Here are five things to watch during the game that could determine the outcome.
Rooney got the goal that allowed England to win their group when he nudged in a header from a few inches out last week against Ukraine. But otherwise he was largely forgettable in his European Championship debut after missing two games through a suspension.
He will have to improve and help the anemic British attack that has only five goals to this point in the tournament.
The Italians biggest and best center back has been ruled out of Sunday's game, a huge blow to their chances. Chiellini is a physical defender who matched up well against England's forwards. He is also the Italian defender who is most comfortable with goaltender Gianluigi Buffon, the pair plays together for club side and Italian Champions Juventus.
The Italians will miss their man in the middle, especially as Rooney is getting stronger and stronger for the English. This could be the spot that costs the Italians.
A Golden Goal
This game has penalties written all over it from the start. England has had trouble scoring goals, especially against a really concerted effort, and the Italians are likely to do just that. The Azzurri are going to get nine or ten men behind the ball and try to get one pure moment of magic at the other end.
This means that England will probably also have to wait for its one shining moment. The chances in this game will be few and far between; if just one player can grab a hold of a chance and execute it will be the difference.
The Balotelli Factor
Mario Balotelli is at his best a character and at his worst a complete nuisance. He can be magical and boneheaded on a pitch in nearly the same breath.
England must fear the Manchester City striker's talent in front of the net, as well as his talent for drawing opponents into red card situations.
Whenever Balotelli is on the field, he is like a bomb waiting to explode. If this is the game where he does, England should pray that their players are well clear when he does.
Master vs. Pupil
Italian midfielder Daniele Di Rossi, a stalwart of both the national team and AS Roma in the Italian Serie A said Wednesday in the run-up to the game that English captian Stephen Gerrard has always been his idol, and that he wishes his game were more like Gerrard's.
Di Rossi will get a firsthand look at Gerrard on Sunday as both will be matchup up against each other in the central midfield. They are two of the best anchors in the world for a team to play around and the man that wins their battle for control could well win the game for his team.