CARSON, Calif. — England are just one result away from reaching the knockout rounds of the 2012 European Championship, but the way they have played thus far, the quarterfinals are just the start of something special.
At least, that’s what their former captain thinks.
“Looking at who’s left in the competition, if we can get a good result now against Ukraine and then push forward I don’t see why we can’t go all the way,” Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said.
WATCH: Beckham says England can win it
England will close out the Euro 2012 group stage with a match against Ukraine on Tuesday. A draw or win would push them through to the quarterfinals. The Three Lions have four points entering the Group D finale and are coming off a thrilling and dramatic 3-2 victory over Sweden.
That England have thrust themselves into the throes of the contenders is no surprise to Beckham.
“We’ve got a great goalkeeper, a talented back four, a midfield that a lot of teams would be scared of,” he said. “When you’ve got someone like [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, [Theo] Walcott, [James] Milner, Stevie [Gerrard], when you’ve got these kinds of players, Scott Parker, [Danny] Welbeck, it’s a dangerous front six, more dangerous than most of the teams I’ve seen in the competition.”
England have put four goals past their opponents. Only Spain had scored more than that through their first two games. But Wayne Rooney is available for England again after sitting out a two-match ban.
“Hopefully we keep continuing to play the way we do,” Beckham said. “It’s exciting to watch, it’s exciting to see an England team like that with obviously so many good players like that. With Wayne coming back into the mix, it pushes us even more forward.”
With Rooney back in the fold, England could be even more dangerous and the side would be well prepared for the quarterfinals should Ukraine not surprise the English. Spain or Italy would await in the knockout rounds, with that match being played either on Saturday or Sunday. The prospect of facing one of those two world powers does not strike fear within the squad.
“That’s what it is when you go into those stages of any big competition, you’re going to come up against Spain, the Italians the French,” Beckham said. “It’s normal. I hope we’re in that position.”
Beckham played twice in the European Championship — in 2000 when England failed to get out of the group stage and in 2004 when Portugal toppled them in a penalty-kick shootout. Even though he has not direct influence on the matches, Beckham is still very much passionate about England.
“It’s up there with everything else," the Great Britain Olympic hopeful said. "I want England to succeed. I believe they’ve got some great players, the set-up is good. It’s always a huge priority in my life.”