England manager Roy Hodgson has praised centre-back John Terry for the way he has performed following the controversy over his selection.
Terry was picked despite facing a charge of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, whose brother Rio was left out of the England squad.
Hodgson told BBC Sport: "He has brought his good form, from the end of the season, with him into the tournament.
"It is nice that he has formed such a good partnership with Joleon Lescott."
The England manager says that the Terry-Lescott partnership has been a key factor in his team's progression and knows how important they will be against Italy in Sunday's quarter-final.
He explained: "Obviously Gary Cahill getting injured decreased the competition for places and really, from the first minute, he and Joleon have hit things off and their play together is very, very important to us."
The defensive solidity often shown by England has led to them being compared with their opponents on Sunday. Italy midfielder Daniele de Rossi had described England as a "very Italian team".
Hodgson welcomed the comparison, saying: "I would have thought that it was meant that they recognise the professionalism of the team and the fact that the players play for each other and there's a very good team spirit and organisation.
"I'd think he probably meant it as a compliment. But of course, when people say things like that, they are also patting themselves on the back and suggesting that trying to be Italian should be at the top of the list of everyone's priorities."
The former West Brom manager does not think that his men should be intimidated by players from Serie A though.
He explained: "There has been far more of an exodus from Serie A to the Barclays Premier League than there has been in the other direction. Things have changed enormously in both countries.
"There is no doubt that English football, I suppose, has enjoyed a very good period. Unfortunately, it hasn't always translated to the national team, as we know, and that is something that we are trying to put right."
The England players' national pride has been noticed in the more vocal way they have sung the national anthem.
When asked if that was due to him, Hodgson said: "It's not particularly my initiative. It is something that I think does play an important part. We are representing our countries and the national anthem is an important part of your country's history and heritage.
"If you are picked to play for the country, you should really be prepared to open your mouth and sing the words."