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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

Pirlo: Italy ‘always’ perform against England

The Juve dead-ball specialist fancies his chances against the Three Lions.

Italy's Andrea Pirlo arrives for a press conference at the Casa Azzurri in Mangaratiba, Brazil.
Italy's Andrea Pirlo arrives for a press conference at the Casa Azzurri in Mangaratiba, Brazil.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

ITALY MIDFIELDER Andrea Pirlo said his compatriots have ‘always played great games’ against 2014 World Cup rivals England.

The two nations are set to square off to open their respective Group D campaigns in Brazil on Saturday.

Dead-ball specialist Pirlo said while he is wary of the potential of Roy Hodgson’s men, he is confident Italy will perform against England — a side they have beaten all three times they have faced them at a major event (Euros or World Cup).

“We know England is a good team that has improved a lot. They have new young players, who are fast. We will have to be careful,” the Juventus veteran said. ”However, we know how to face them. Italy has always played great games against England and hence, we will have our chances.”

And Pirlo said his nation can make it two World Cups in three tournaments, as the former AC Milan man hunts glory on what shapes to be his final time playing at the pinnacle of world football.

“Can Italy win the World Cup? Of course. When I play, it is solely to win,” he said. ”I am never just content with getting through the group stages. We have a competitive squad and will give our all to achieve this objective.

“We have what it takes to go far. The important thing is to believe, sacrifice ourselves, work hard and the results can arrive.

“Our aim should be to win and go until the end. We have a very competitive team and we will give our all to win this tournament. I never compete to take part but to finish first.”

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