England v Italy – World Cup preview

Watch England's first game of Brazil 2014 live on BBC1 from 10.20pm on Saturday 14 June

England v Italy (Group D) 10.20pm (k/o 11pm) BBC1


Here we go again. After all the fretting over the humidity of Manaus and the midfield mastery of Andrea Pirlo, it’s time to see what England are really made of.

BBC pundit and former England international Danny Mills says there are enough reasons to be confident, including the added pace that younger players like Raheem Stirling bring to the squad.

“Despite what happened against Ecuador, I would really like Raheem Stirling to start, although I’m not sure whether Roy Hodgson will do it,” he says. “Pace scares the opposition to death. It gives England a different dimension, the chance to threaten in behind and create extra space for midfielders.”

However, Mills does admit that he would be happy if England escape Manaus with a point: “I would take 0-0 all day long (and I’m sure Roy Hodgson would too). Don’t get beaten in your opening game. It sounds dull, but it’s a great place to start from.” Read Mills’s full England preview here, or read our guide to England’s World Cup Group D.


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