Talk is cheap: What players said and odds ahead of England v Italy
There’s barely an England World Cup inclusion or Italy international at the Brazil finals that hasn’t had something to say on the two European nations’ opening Group D encounter.
Coral make the Three Lions outsiders at 21/10 to upset four-time winners the Azzurri, who are 13/8 favourites for their meeting in Manaus. Even a draw is rated more likely than an England win at 19/10.
In a light-hearted take on this crunch clash, we take a look at several choice quotes. Some are outside the box, others eyebrow-raising and occasionally the players took a straight bat approach to being quizzed by reporters.
England talisman Wayne Rooney:
“We’re fine, we’ve prepared really well over the last three or four weeks. It’s going to be hot and humid, but that’s what we’ve been preparing for. We’re ready for the game, looking forward to it and the quicker it comes the better.”
Someone’s raring to go… now can Rooney break his World Cup duck at his third finals? He is 13/2 to score first after doing so in his last two competitive internationals.
Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo drops a hint or two about Azzurri tactics:
“We tried this new solution with a midfielder in front of the defence and two directors further forward with more freedom. We like this option, it can give great results and we are working to improve every day.
“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. We aim to rotate the midfield positions to keep our opponents guessing. Any system is good as long as we play well.”
Hope you were reading the tabloids, Roy Hodgson, or was it a bluff or a double bluff? Whatever Pirlo’s motives, he is 10/3 to score anytime, most likely from a dead ball, and 5/1 to be named FIFA Man of the Match.
Everton defender Phil Jagielka on Italy’s knowledge of the Brazilian climate:
“Obviously they have had the experience of playing in these conditions [at the 2013 Confederations Cup], but that’s what our week-long training camp in Miami was about, to try and play in similar conditions.”
Clearly, a few days in Florida is better than Italy playing an entire tournament over there last summer in the mind of England’s first-choice centre back. No judgment here, though. Jagielka is 8/5 to help his country keep a clean sheet here, and a 10/1 shot to nick a goal, perhaps from a set piece.
Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio on differences between the two teams from their last tournament meeting:
“I think we’ll meet a different England to Euro 2012. They are always great clashes. [England] have changed a lot of players, but we have too. The important thing is that everyone feels they are a part of this project.”
A pretty straight bat from Marchisio, then. He’s 4/1 for a goal anytime in Manaus.