Diamanti hoping to face former colleague Parker
Italy midfielder Alessandro Diamanti is relishing the chance to face former club-mate Scott Parker in Sunday’s Euro 2012 quarter-final meeting against England in Kiev.
Diamanti played alongside Parker at West Ham during the 2009/10 campaign and is hoping to put one over his old colleague.
“I would really like to face and beat Parker, who was a team-mate of mine at West Ham,” Diamanti said.
“Parker is a top player, a great rival, but since I left (West Ham), I haven’t spoken to him.”
Diamanti, who scored seven goals in 30 league appearances for Serie A side Bologna last season, is confident about his side’s chances heading into this weekend’s match but, although he feels Italy are superior to England, he is taking nothing for granted.
The Azzurri finished second in their pool behind holders Spain, while England topped Group D.
“Perhaps in terms of the things that surround football like stadiums, fans’ behaviour, they (English) are 30 years ahead of us, but when it comes to the pitch, we are much stronger and play a more beautiful football,” Diamanti said.
“However, even if history says that we are much stronger than them, it doesn’t count for anything in these types of games.
“I have only watched England’s game against Ukraine and they are a strong side, with great champions.
“It’s going to be a big battle, we respect them but we have no fear.”
Diamanti is hoping he will get the chance to feature in the quarter-final having made his debut in a major international competition in Monday’s 2-0 triumph over the Republic of Ireland.
“I was very excited to make my debut against Ireland,” the 29-year-old said.
“Now I have a chance to play in a game that only a couple of years ago I could only dream of playing on the PlayStation.
“I never gave up hope and I’ve worked hard for it. I will do everything that I can to help my team progress to the next round.”