By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Alan Pardew is backing England to beat Italy in their Euro 2012 quarter-final clash, but believes Roy Hodgson's men face a tougher task in the last four of the tournament.
The Three Lions topped Group D with an unbeaten record and now meet Group C runners-up Italy in the Olympic Stadium, in Kiev, on Sunday.
Newcastle boss Pardew has been a studio pundit with the BBC for a number of games at the Euros, and told nufc.co.uk it has been a fascinating competition.
And while the 50-year-old has been impressed with England's performances and results, he still cannot look past the two favourites to ultimately lift the trophy on Sunday, 1st July.
"I haven't been able to take my eyes off it," he said.
"There's been some fantastic games and I've enjoyed it - it's been a brilliant tournament,
"I'm looking forward to the final stages of it now where it really gets interesting and am looking forward to hopefully seeing England beat Italy and qualify for the semi-finals.
"However, when it comes to winning it I still think that Spain will be very, very difficult to beat. The only other team who has a really outstanding chance of competing at that level is Germany, so I would go for one of those two to win it."