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Jagielka insists England have improved

Danny Welbeck is a doubt for England's FIFA World Cup opener against Italy on Saturday after suffering a thigh strain.
Italy train in the rain that may stand them in good stead for their World Cup opener against England in Manaus on Saturday.
England manager Roy Hodgson remains wary of putting pressure on his young side ahead of the start of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Phil Jagielka believes England are better equipped to face Italy now than they were two years ago.

- Brewin: England count down to kickoff
Welbeck sits out England training

The two nations meet in their opening World Cup Group D match in Manaus on Saturday.

It will be the first time they have faced each other in a competitive game since Italy defeated England on penalties in a Euro 2012 quarterfinal in Kiev -- the Three Lions claimed a 2-1 friendly win two months later.

Jagielka -- an unused substitute then -- is set to line up in defence for his country this weekend alongside Gary Cahill, and the Everton captain is optimistic about the side's chances.

The 32-year-old told the Toffees' official website: "I feel like as a squad we have got stronger since then. There are only three games in the group and you need at least one win.

"It's important to get off to a good start. Hopefully after the Italy game we will be happy and have teed ourselves up nicely."

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney agreed echoed his international teammates sentiment, telling a press conference in Rio de Janeiro: "I think we have [a better squad than at Euro 2012].

"I think the squad we've got is a youthful squad (which has) a lot of energy and excitement and in terms of Italy it is more or less the same squad (as the one at Euro 2012).It will be an interesting game for us to see how we have moved on and how we have progressed in the two years (since).''

Following the Italy clash, England take on Uruguay on June 19, before facing Costa Rica on June 24.


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