By Greg Stobart in Rio de Janeiro
England defender Gary Cahill claims there is no plan to stop Andrea Pirlo in the World Cup opener against Italy on Saturday.
The Three Lions take on Italy in the Amazon city of Manaus in a repeat of the Euro 2012 quarter-final, when Pirlo produced a man-of-the-match display before the Azzurri won on penalties.
Much has been made of how Roy Hodgson’s men will try and handle Pirlo in the Group D clash on Saturday – but Cahill insists they will not give the 35-year-old playmaker special attention.
“I don’t think there is a masterplan,” said the Chelsea defender when asked about Pirlo’s threat. “We’re respectful of what he’s done and what a player he is but our message is about how we want to play and approach the game – we want to control the game.
“I think the key is to be organised and solid at the back, and to give our more creative players the ball to create opportunities. That’s the plan.”
Cahill missed Euro 2012 with a jaw injury sustained in a warm-up fixture against Belgium, and he admits the painful memories of watching that tournament from home have given him added motivation in Brazil this summer.
“For me it’s huge,” Cahill added. “Selfishly, I missed out last time and it’s my first major tournament with England.
“The blow at the Euros for me was huge, just before we were going to leave for the tournament. Hopefully I can be part of things this time and I can’t wait to get started
“I feel confident and like I’m in a good place.”