England vs. Italy is one of the most anticipated matches of the 2014 World Cup, which takes in the second match of Group D on Saturday. The timeless rivalry between these two giants is one full of tradition, but both teams look to redeem their disastrous 2010 performances.
The Brits come in with a tradition that dates back to the 1800s, making them one of the oldest football teams in the world. However, England has only won one World Cup. It’s been a long, tough drought for England and fans of The Three Lions are more than ready for another title.
England wants to be relevant in the World Cup again and in 2014, under the leadership of Roy Hodgson, they are relying on their country’s youth to bring them closer to that goal. England’s squad is the youngest World Cup squad since 1958, with an average age of 26-years-old.
England made its first World Cup appearance in 1950 and, together with France and Spain, they are tied for sixth place when it comes to most wins. Their only win came against West Germany in the 1966 World Cup, which they hosted.
The Three Lions come in with the desire to do a lot better than their 13th place at the 2010 South Africa World Cup, their worst result in history. England has been impressive in qualifiers and friendlies, and hopes to continue the successful campaign in Brazil.
— Vini990 (@Vini990CP) June 14, 2014
There is not much to say about Italy that hasn’t been already said, other than the fact that it is a legendary squad. Italy’s history is too long to summarize in a few short paragraphs, but one thing’s for certain: They are eager to do better than their 26th place in the 2010 World Cup, the worst in their illustrious history.
The Azzurri is the second winningest football team in history, with four World Cup titles (Brazil is first with five). As such, they are always a favorite and a threat to take it all. With their flamboyant style of play and on-the-field theatrics, the Italians are certainly fun to watch.
A few days ago, Italy’s head coach, Cesare Prandelli, admitted that his squad was “not sharp enough yet” ahead of the clash with England. The team comes into the World Cup with less than stellar friendly results. However, Prandelli has no doubts about his men’s dedication to give it all on the football field this Saturday.
Like England, Italy is relying on its youngsters to bring glory to their country once again. Loyal fans demand it, while the world awaits to see if the Azzurri can tie Brazil’s five World Cup titles in another “Maracanazo”.
England: Joe Hart; Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Glen Johnson; Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard; Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Adam Lallana; Daniel Sturridge.
Italy: Gianluigi Buffon; Giorgio Chiellini, Gabriel Paletta, Andrea Barzagli, Matteo Darmian; Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi, Marco Verratti,;Claudio Marchisio, Antonio Candreva and Mario Balotelli.
Players To Watch
England: Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Jack Wilshere
Italy: Claudio Marchisio, Mario Balotelli, Mattia de Scigglio
Match Prediction: 1-1
Date: Saturday, June 14
Time: 5:00 pm/ET, 4:00 pm/CT
Location: Arena Amazônia, Manaus
[Image via Twitter]