Italian veteran Andrea Pirlo is quietly confident of his nation repeating the heroics of 2006 and winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, starting with victory over England in their first Group match on Sunday, June 15th.
A pivotal member of the squad that defeated France on penalties in the 2006 World Cup final in Germany, Pirlo told The Telegraph the Azzurri are likely to adopt a new formation for their match with England, having stunned the Three Lions with a similar shake-up of tactics in their last meeting in the Quarter-finals of Euro 2012.
“We tried this new solution with a midfielder in front of the defence and two further forward with more freedom,” Pirlo said of an Italian training session earlier this week.
“We aim to rotate the midfield positions to keep our opponents guessing.
“We like this option, it can give great results and we are working to improve every day. We can try many different approaches but it is also down to how you interpret the role. In truth it’s a system that involves rotation, as we go forward and at other times I’d come back into the more classic position.”
Having personally completed more passes than the entire English team over the 90 minutes of their Euro quarter-final, Pirlo said Italy are expecting a far-more polished opponent, with several fresh faces included in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad for the Soccer World Cup.
“We know England are a great team who have improved a lot with new, young players coming in,” Pirlo added.
“They have good runners, but we know how to face them and have been studying England over the last few days. We have a different approach to the sport, so we’ll give our all in our own style.”
Drawn in arguably one of the 2014 World Cup’s toughest pools alongside England, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D, Pirlo said the skill, confidence and form around the Italian side more than warrants a successful tilt in Brazil.
“Can Italy win the World Cup? Of course,” Pirlo said.
“When I play, it is solely to win. I am never just content with getting through the round. We have a competitive squad and will give our all to achieve this objective.
“We have the chance to make this a World Cup to be remembered for all our lives. We have what it takes to go far. The important thing is to believe, sacrifice ourselves, work hard and the results can arrive.”
Currently offered as outright favourites to win Pool D and progress to the knockout stage of the 2014 Soccer World Cup at short $1.40 odds, Italy can be taken at a generous quote of $23 to lift the World Cup on July 13th at Ladbrokes.com.au.