England will be preparing to meet Italy in their opening group match at the World Cup 2014. This will be a rematch of the Euro 2012 quarter finals in which England suffered a defeat on penalties. It was one of the poorest matches in recent memory, as both teams failed to create much chances over the course of 120 minutes. This was largely because England concentrated on preventing Italy to only a few opportunities. Due to this defensive display, they were knocked out of the tournament according to many.
England will be looking to get revenge against the Italians when they take on the Cesare Prandelli managed team in the opening group match. Ahead of this encounter, Liverpool defender Glen Johnson says that this England team are much stronger than before and that they would be proving that it is the case with a good performance against the Italians. Italy come into the tournament on the back of a poor form in warm-up friendly matches, which is also the same with England. Johnson was in danger of missing out on the World Cup due to injury, but he recovered sufficiently during the last few weeks of the league campaign to be included in the squad.
This could be his final World Cup as the former Chelsea man will be 34 by the time next one in Russia kicks off. “We had a good team when we played Italy last time but now we have more players who can hurt them, attacking-wise, and we have a bit more pace in the squad as well, so hopefully we will get further on. I don’t think Italy will have met an England team like this before. The team we had before was a good side but maybe it was slightly defensive. If we can defend well now,” said Johnson.