England Coach, Roy Hodgson has given an insight into how his side will contain Andrea Pirlo much better in Brazil than they did at Euro 2012.
It would be recalled that England slipped out of the European Championships two summers ago on penalties following a goalless draw at the quarter-final stage where Pirlo pulled the strings for Italy throughout that contest, before converting a remarkably composed Panenka spot-kick in the shoot-out.
Hodgson is aware that England will need to get much closer to the Juventus midfielder when they open their World Cup campaign on Saturday, but believes the side he now has at his disposal is better equipped to handle that threat and provide one of their own.
He said: “How are we going to stop Pirlo? What we’re going to do first of all is we’re going to play better against Italy this time than we did in Euro 2012.
“Of course, against a tiring team and a team that was playing with Pirlo, he had a very, very good game because he’s a very, very good player.
“What are we going to do this time against Pirlo? First, we’ll play with more energy because we’ll have more energy because it will be the first game in the tournament. We’ll be even more compact than we were in that game.
“We’re going to make certain also that Italy have a lot more concern themselves with our attacking play, because one of the problems we had in that game is that we weren’t functioning well as an attacking unit. So Italy had too much of the ball and we were doing too much defending.
“One of our plans this time is to make certain we do a lot more attacking and that Italy find themselves wondering what they’re going to do about people like Steven Gerrard or Wayne Rooney,” he said.