World Cup 2014: England v Italy match preview

A look ahead to Saturday’s World Cup fixture at Arena Amazonia in Manaus

The wait is over and England finally get their World Cup campaign underway on Saturday, where they are looking to exact revenge on the Italian team who knocked them out of Euro 2012. It is set to be an intriguing encounter as both teams sweat it out in the humidity of the Amazon, desperate to get off to a winning start, or perhaps more importantly to avoid defeat.

Roy Hodgson’s England come into the World Cup on the back of two draws and one win in their pre-World Cup friendlies, and the lack of expectation for this England team to succeed has almost inadvertently created a sense of expectancy amongst an England camp with less pressure than usual. The emerging talents of Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana will be keen to carry their club form into the World Cup, whilst Wayne Rooney has one last chance to deliver on the world stage. England face a tough task in getting out of what has been dubbed the ‘group of death’, but Roy Hodgson’s men appear to be quietly confident that they can produce a shock, starting with this crucial group opener against the Italians.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR WORLD CUP LIVE BLOG

Cesare Prandelli’s World Cup preparations were rocked by two disappointing draws against Republic of Ireland and Luxembourg, and an injury to key midfielder Riccardo Montolivo who suffered a fractured tibia. Italy did however manage their first win since 2013 with a 5-3 victory over Fluminense last weekend, with a hat-trick from Serie A’s top scorer Ciro Immobile, who could be a threat if partnered with Mario Balotelli up front. Euro 2012 player of the tournament Andrea Pirlo will again be looking to control the tempo of the game, as he did the last time these two sides met in a major tournament, but Italy’s defence remains a weakness. It is sure to be a fantastic opening game in Group D as Gli Azzuri  will also be looking to put right their poor performance in the 2010 World Cup, where they failed to win a single match.

Read more: Gerrard: It is time for England to walk the walk
Hodgson up against fiercest challenge yet
Would a dreary draw be so bad?

KICK-OFF: Saturday, 11pm

 

PAST THREE MEETINGS…

England 2 (Jagielka, Defoe) Italy 1 (De Rossi), International Friendly, August 2012

England 0  Italy 0, European Championships, June 2012

England 1 (Fowler)  Italy 2 (Montella x2), International Friendly, March 2002

 

STATS…

Last time these sides met in a World Cup was at Italia 1990, with Italy winning 2-1 in the third/fourth play-off.

This fixture has been played 24 times, with England winning eight, Italy winning nine, and seven ending in a draw.

England have 22 home based players in their squad, whilst Italy have 20.

Roy Hodgson named England’s youngest ever squad since 1958, with an average age of 26.

England’s Luke Shaw is the second youngest player at the World Cup finals.

Italy’s last win against another international side was in September 2013.

This game will be Gianluigi Buffon’s 141 cap, and the start of his fifth World Cup.

Andrea Pirlo (left) and Mario Balotelli share a joke in training Andrea Pirlo (left) and Mario Balotelli share a joke in training  

ODDS…

England to win: 2.9

Italy to win: 2.8

Draw: 3.0

CLASSIC MATCH...

Andrea Pirlo’s performance against England at Euro 2012 still haunts Scott Parker, Steven Gerrard and the rest of the England team who were played off the park by a midfield maestro at the top of his game, who made everything look so easy. This impressive display was topped off by an audacious penalty against Joe Hart, where he chipped the ball down the middle, leaving the England keeper looking a little embarrassed. England fans will be hoping that there is no repeat of this on Saturday.

TV: Live on BBC 1 at 11pm

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week