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The veteran Juventus midfielder says that the Azzurri "know how to face" Saturday's Group D opponents, though he urges caution against the Three Lions' young, fast starlets

Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo has warned his team-mates that they can expect to face a different and much-improved England side than the one whom they sent crashing out of Euro 2012.

The two sides meet in Manaus on Saturday in their opening game of the World Cup, a repeat of their quarter-final clash two years ago in Kiev, in which the Azzurri progressed after a penalty shootout.

But Pirlo is not taking the Three Lions' threat lightly, highlighting the emergence of youth within England's ranks, though he is confident that Cesare Prandelli's men are capable of coming out on top.

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"We know England are a good team that has improved a lot," he told reporters.

"They have new, young players, who are fast. We will have to be careful.

"However, we know how to face them. Italy has always played great games against England and hence we will have our chances."

Pirlo was instrumental in Italy's victory over England in Ukraine, famously completing more passes than Roy Hodgson's entire midfield combined, but he insists that the four-time World Cup winners are more than a one-man team.

"This national team is not Pirlo-dependent," the 35-year-old argued. "In order to go all the way you need everyone's contribution.

"Our aim should be to win and go until the end. We have a very competitive team and we will give our all to win this tournament. I never compete to take part but to finish first."

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