Saturday June 14 2014
Prandelli replies to Gerrard claim

Steven Gerrard claims England “are a better team,” but Cesare Prandelli assures “we prepared in minute detail.”

Their World Cup campaigns kick off in Manaus this evening at 23.00 UK time (22.00 GMT) and Gerrard was in bullish mood during a Press conference.

“I think we're a better team, I think we're a better squad, I think confidence is higher, preparation's gone really well.

“We've been moving forward in the right direction and grown as a team, trying to improve. But now we know we're going to get judged on the games coming up, and hopefully we can go out and prove to everyone that we have moved forward a lot and improved a lot as a team.”

Italy Coach Prandelli was asked about this comment in his own conference and smiled.

“Everyone is free to think they are stronger than their opponents, but we prepared this game in minute detail to win it. We are not afraid.”

His starting XI is still up in the air, especially after injuries to Mattia De Sciglio and Gigi Buffon.

“Doubts are good for me and for the lads. I don’t want to give anyone an advantage of knowing our line-up.

“I would like to see a team that stays on point for the whole 90 minutes. If that is the case, then the final stages of the match could throw up some great surprises even against very strong opponents.”