Vialli: Italy have the edge over England

Former Italy star and Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli has said that the Azzurri will have a slight advantage over England when they meet in Manaus on Saturday evening, BBC Sport has reported.

Vialli, who won 49 caps for his country, pointed to Italy’s participation in the 2013 Confederations Cup – where they finished in third place – as a crucial factor as it helped them become used to conditions. As for England, their 2-2 draw against Brazil last year was the first game they played in South America for several years.

“We feel we’ve learnt a lot from being in Brazil last year, so we feel we’ve got a slight advantage,’ said Vialli. “We know the problems with the logistics, the organisation but, more importantly, all the problems related to the climate, especially when it comes to fitness. For England, Brazil is an unknown territory. It’s a guessing game.”

The 49-year-old also told of his belief that England have struggled to cope with high expectations at previous major tournaments, adding: “As an outsider, I look and I read and I know English fans and the media, for about four years, have been a bit depressed about the national team and have very little expectations.

“The Italian players know how to handle this. English players only feel the pressure when they play for the national team. When they play in the Premier League, it’s fun, it’s great – there’s not as much pressure. It’s about adjusting themselves from clubs to country.”

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