World Cup: Italy defender Ignazio Abate tips England to shine in Brazil
Last Updated: 09/06/14 1:40pm
Italy defender Ignazio Abate believes a youthful England squad have the potential to be a World Cup 'revelation'.
Two European heavyweights are due to begin their quest for global glory in the Amazonian city of Manaus on Saturday.
Both feel they are capable of progressing deep into the tournament if they hit their stride and build early momentum.
Italy will head into the contest looking to extend a five-match unbeaten run against England – having last sent them packing at Euro 2012 – but AC Milan full-back Abate admits that the Azzurri need to be wary of a potentially dangerous opponent.
He said: “England have changed a lot. They have created a good mix and they could be the revelation of this World Cup.
England have changed a lot. They have created a good mix and they could be the revelation of this World Cup.
“It will be a very difficult match, but I am convinced we will arrive in the best physical and mental condition.
“We need to erase what has been done previously and start again with great humility.
“At the Euros, we started with a lot of scepticism. No-one bet a euro on us but then we got to the final, thanks to our desire to surprise. That should be the task in the World Cup too.
“We cannot think we are a great team who can play within itself or wait for an individual to come up with the goods.
“As long as we don’t lose our humility and willingness to make sacrifices, we can cause anyone problems.”
Giorgio Chiellini is also expecting a tough test against England, with the Juventus defender aware that Roy Hodgson now has an enviable array of pacey attackers at his disposal.
He said: “In Kiev (in 2012), we played one of the best matches we have played.
“Over these two years both teams have changed. We are rejuvenated, but I think the identity remains the same.
“England have brought a group of Liverpool’s contingent, who have done really well.
“Maybe as individuals they have changed more compared to us, but their way of playing remains the same.
“It will be a tough match. They have great individual players like (Wayne) Rooney and (Steven) Gerarrd.”