Italy will begin their World Cup campaign against England at the Arena Amazonia late on Saturday evening. If Italy are to reach the knock-out phase, they must navigate their way through Group D, which also contains Uruguay, England and Costa Rica.

Cesare Prandelli claims that his Italy side are ‘not sharp enough yet’ as they prepare to face England on Saturday.

Prandelli said: “We are not sharp enough yet. We have done the physical work, trained hard and are in good shape.

“But we know we must improve before we start the tournament against England. We can improve and we will improve.

“Character-wise, the team will not disappoint and we will fight for the shirt and for every ball.”

Italy 23 Man Squad

1 Gianluigi BUFFON, Goalkeeper
2 Mattia DE SCIGLIO, Defender
3 Giorgio CHIELLINI, Defender
4 Matteo DARMIAN, Defender
5 Thiago MOTTA, Midfielder
6 Antonio CANDREVA, Midfielder
7 Ignazio ABATE, Defender
8 Claudio MARCHISIO, Midfielder
9 Mario BALOTELLI, Forward
10 Antonio CASSANO, Forward
11 Alessio CERCI, Forward
12 Salvatore SIRIGU, Goalkeeper
13 Mattia PERIN, Goalkeeper
14 Alberto AQUILANI, Midfielder
15 Andrea BARZAGLI, Defender
16 Daniele DE ROSSI, Midfielder
17 Ciro IMMOBILE, Forward
18 Marco PAROLO, Midfielder
19 Leonardo BONUCCI, Defender
20 Gabriel PALETTA, Defender
21 Andrea PIRLO, Midfielder
22 Lorenzo INSIGNE, Forward
23 Marco VERRATTI, Midfielder

PRANDELLI Cesare Coach (ITA)

Predicted starting XI:

Lazio attacking midfielder Antonio Candreva is expected to play behind lone centre-forward Balotelli. Ciro Immobile will start on bench as boss Cesare Prandelli stated he’d only pair him with Balo if “forced” to do so. Matteo Darmian has impressed the Italy staff in the friendlies and is expected to start against England. Milan’s Mattia De Sciglio moves to the left with Juventus pair Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli in the centre. Verratti is expected to start after recovering from a bout of flu.