St Jakob Park

Next Game

Switzerland v England

Monday, 08 September 2014, 19:45

Euro 2016 Qualifying Group E

Last Game

Costa Rica 0 - 0 England

Tuesday, 24 June 2014, 17:00

World Cup Group D

Barzagli: We are ready

Italy are confident they can cope with the heat and humidity in Manaus and beat England in Saturday's World Cup Group D opener for the two sides.

Last Updated: 12/06/14 at 21:11 Post Comment

Andrea Barzagli: Claims Italy are fully prepared for clash with England

Andrea Barzagli: Claims Italy are fully prepared for clash with England

Free £50 bet

Daily Offers and Promotions, sign up for a free £50 matched bet

The Azzurri prepared for the extreme conditions by doing specific training exercises in a sauna at their headquarters in Coverciano, Florence.

"I think the heat will condition both teams," Italy defender Andrea Barzagli said. "We have prepared quite well. The conditions will be difficult but if you want to play at this level you need to be ready for everything.

"It will create adversity for us as just as it will for them."

Barzagli firmly denied that Italy may be willing to settle for a draw if the players are struggling to cope with the conditions.

"We cannot forget that this game could already be crucial in terms of the group," he said. "Hence the climate could impact the game but I don't think either side will plan to settle for a draw."

To complicate matters for the two sides, organisers have confirmed that the pitch at the Amazonia Arena will not be in good shape.

"We've had an update stating that the pitch will not be in peak condition," Barzagli said. "But I think they will do all that they can to make it decent."

Barzagli did express on Thursday concerns about his team's defence.

"In recent times, we have given away more goals than we wanted," he said. "But the important thing is to give solidity to our defence.

"Against England, we will have to be very careful on dead-ball situations.

"They are very dangerous in the area and these are important details where we must not make mistakes."

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will be hoping to recover AC Milan defender Mattia De Sciglio in time for the game.

De Sciglio sustained a muscular injury in Thursday's training session and was taken to hospital for tests.

Meanwhile, Barzagli believes his team has the weapons to hurt England.

"I hope our strikers can test England's defence," the Juventus centre-back said. "They have a tough defence and we have tried several options to make life difficult for them.

"We are optimistic because we are working so much.

"We want to do something extraordinary."

Prandelli has yet to reveal who will play up front.

The Azzurri coach has plenty of options with Mario Balotelli, Antonio Casano, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne all available for selection.

The 33-year-old Barzagli hopes his side can replicate the feat of the Azzurri squad of 2006.

Barzagli was a member of the side that beat France eight years ago to hand Italy their fourth World crown.

"There were so many more players with international experience back in 2006 and this means a lot," he said. "But the will is the same.

"There is a good group and in top competitions, this makes a difference.

"We hope we can be similar to the team of 2006.

"I am eight years older, I have more experience, and hence, more responsibility."

In the absence of Ireland at the World Cup and given my love of Italian football I have to say Forza i Azzuri!
- shea666

Free £50 bet

Daily Offers and Promotions, sign up for a free £50 matched bet

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

T

heyremind me of Utd's treble winning side. Swashbuckling and risk prone. We ha Jaap Stam to paper over the cracks at the back though. Not sure they have their Jaap yet.

HarryBoulton
New Striker Not Liverpool's Priority...

A

lexis Sanchez; too good for Liverpool, Stevie. :)

pires
Suarez 'too good for Arsenal'

T

he solution is to not feel sorry for any of Jabba, Gold or Sullivan. They're all deeply unpleasant and all deserve each other. If only West Ham would sign Barton and Suarez then no one would ever need to despise any other club.

spuzzell
The Strange Idea Of Sympathy For Big Sam

Footer 365

Patrice Evra reveals he would have been Man Utd captain if he had stayed

Patrice Evra has revealed he would have been made captain if he had stayed at Manchester United.

Transfer news: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers targets further signings

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is hoping to further strengthen his squad ahead of the transfer deadline on September 1.

Transfer news: Jose Mourinho confirms Fernando Torres will stay at Chelsea

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has told Sky Sports News Fernando Torres will not be sold during this transfer window.

Mail Box

Plenty Of Reasons Why Lukaku's Worth It

The mailbox defends Everton's enormous outlay on Romelu Lukaku, while we also have mails on Spurs and Suarez. Oh, and worrying about the new magic spray...

Sterling Stuff And Other Friendly Thoughts

We have one reader reaching conclusions from last night's friendly while we have others discussing Romelu Lukaku's move to Everton. Oh and some swearing...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property