Italy and AC Milan right-back Ignazio Abate believes that England's youthful World Cup squad have a chance to be a 'revelation' in the finals.
The two European heavyweights kick-off their campaigns against each other in the Amazonian city of Manaus on Saturday, with both teams feeling they can provide a few shocks as the tournament progresses.
Italy have the upper hand of the two teams, having only lost twice against England since 1980, including knocking them out of Euro 2012, but Italian defender Abate has admitted that they must 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. 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.”
Experience centre back Giorgio Chiellini agrees with Abate and is also expecting a tough test when they come up against England on Saturday.
“In Kiev (Euro 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," he explained.
“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.”
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