Roy Hodgson, England begin preparing for Italy
In a tough Group D featuring Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica, England could be on the back foot from June 14 onwards if they are beaten by Cesare Prandelli’s men.
Hodgson and his staff have begun to look at Italy’s performances dating back to UEFA Euro 2012 in order to prepare England for their opener in Manaus.
And the former Liverpool boss revealed that the whole squad are involved in the process.
“We are doing a lot of video work showing the players in units, aspects of the Italian game, how that affects us and what we want them to do,” Hodgson said.
“We are doing it in units, not as individual players. We are talking about how our midfield is going to attack or defend. It will be all the midfielders involved and not just the four or five we might choose.”
Quick pressing in midfield, which would lessen the influence of deep-lying Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo, could be key.
But how often England can press is another question in the humid conditions at the Arena Amazonia.
Hodgson has several ideas for how his team might set up, but will wait a little longer to decide as he assesses the fitness of his players.
“I have many ideas but firm ideas, no,” he said.
“I don’t know how players will be performing in three or four weeks’ time. I don’t know how their fitness will be.
“There is no real point in spending hours and hours of sleepless nights agonising over the team when the selection of this player or that player might be an issue when it gets to the match.”
Hodgson plans to go to watch Italy’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland on May 31, but said there was only so much he could take out of such an encounter.
“You either come away being very impressed or unimpressed, and then the team you meet two or three weeks later in a competitive game can be a totally different kettle of fish,” he added.
“I will be watching it and getting a few more ideas on the players I feel I know quite well anyway, but I won’t be making very bold judgements.
“It’s a friendly. And friendlies and competitive matches are very different.”
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