Hodgson: England have learnt lessons and will attack Italy

After being knocked out on penalties by the Azzurri at Euro 2012, the former Liverpool boss is hoping a more offensive style of play will stop Andrea Pirlo from dictating terms
Roy Hodgson has vowed to attack Italy on Saturday as his England side seek to gain revenge on the team that knocked them out of Euro 2012.

The Three Lions were beaten on penalties following an uninspiring 0-0 draw in Kiev two years ago, with Andrea Pirlo putting in a fine performance for the Azzurri in midfield.

But Hodgson claims that his squad have learnt their lessons from that day and he hopes the likes of Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney will cause Cesare Prandelli's defence problems in their World Cup opener.

11/2 England are 11/2 with bet365 to beat Italy 1-0 in Manaus on June 14
"We will play a lot better [compared with 2012] and we will play with more energy because we will have more energy as it will be the first game in the tournament," he told reporters.

"We will be even more compact. We’re also going to make certain that Italy have a lot more to concern themselves about with our attacking play, because one of the problems we had in that game is that we weren’t functioning well as an attacking unit.

"One of our plans this time is to make certain we do a lot more attacking and that Italy find themselves wondering what they’re going to do about people such as Steven Gerrard or Wayne Rooney."

Hodgson is also hopeful that captain Gerrard will perform a pivotal role in keeping Pirlo quiet, with the Juventus man seen as the player who can pull the strings for Prandelli's side.

The Liverpool man wasn't fully fit in Ukraine, and though he left England's first training session in South America early due to a groin problem, Hodgson feels the extra fitness his side should have at the start of a tournament will stand them in good stead.

The Three Lions boss continued: "How are we going to stop Pirlo? What we’re going to do first of all is play better this time than we did then.

"The Italy game was actually our worst performance of that tournament and all the players would agree with me. We didn’t think we played anywhere near as well as we could.

"Against a tiring team Pirlo had a very good game because he’s a very good player. But we did show incredible character, incredible determination and incredible fight because, although we weren’t playing well, we kept a very strong Italian team at bay for 120 minutes and actually gave ourselves a chance of winning on penalties.

"It was a stage of the tournament when we were weary. Our squad was quite small. Steven Gerrard was injured. Both he and Scott Parker in normal circumstances might have come off at half-time."

England kick-off their Group D campaign against Italy in Manaus on June 14 at 23:00 BST.