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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable