The Three Lions kick start their World Cup campaign battling the intense heat at Manaus, while the Azzurris will look to pick up from where they left against their opposition in the Euro 2012. While Roy Hodgson has maintained that his side have enough ammunitions to stretch imaginations back home, Gary Neville accidentally revealed England’s tactics to on looking photographers in Rio. Can Steven Gerrard and Co push above their limits and start the campaign with a bang and put Cesar Prandelli’s men on their place in the group encounter? What would be England’s strongest possible lineup to face the 2006 Champions? We here at Soccersouls have the answer for our readers.
Joe Hart will take his place under the bar for his side and the Manchester City player will have to concentrate hard to banish Robert Green’s demons four years back in South Africa. The Italians are very well organized and when it comes to tactical intelligence, the Azzurris are known as the masters of unpredictability. Hart will have a tough job on his hands to keep out Serie A top goal scorer Ciro Immobile if he starts while controversial genius Mario Balotelli is always dangerous for any side on his day.
Glen Johnson should be deployed at right back by while Leighton Baines should be given the nod ahead of Luke Shaw for the left back slot. Both the full backs need to make sure they don’t leave back enough space while overlapping their wingers up front as it will cause the central defensive line a huge cause of concern. Phil Jagielka certainly takes his place alongside Gary Cahill in the heart of the defense. Both the central defenders have to make sure that they don’t allow Balotelli and co even an inch of space.
England need to be proactive right throughout the tournament and should shape in a 4-4-2 diamond which has served Liverpool huge benefits in the foregone 2013-13 season. The scribble in Neville’s note reads,
““When the ball goes into control zone – team must make at least three passes before hitting the Centre Forward. Once the ball is played into the end zone – 2 MFs [midfielders] try to get in and support for a 3v2. However, if the defending team win the ball back they counter straight away.”
Steven Gerrard should play in his familiar quarter back role he has taken up for the Reds under Brendan Rodgers this season. Jordan Henderson should start wide right while Hodgson has the option to bring on Wilshere and easily change into a more direct 4-2-3-1 if things aren’t going his way. Southampton’s Adam Lallana on the other flank should see Raheem Sterling play at the top of the diamond, troubling the opposition defense with his raw pace, trickery, guile and creative imagination.
Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney should lead the attack, but the Liverpool-United pair haven’t flattered to deceive in the practice games. Rooney can drop deep, more into a number ten role while Sturridge is expected don the number nine role. Daniel Welbeck should shrug off his injury to take his place on the bench while new Liverpool signing Ricky Lambert also remains a good option from the bench.