Hodgson pinpoints Pirlo as key Italy threat to England

With the two sides set to face off against each other on June 14, the Three Lions manager feels the 34-year-old is likely to have the most significant impact on the game
England manager Roy Hodgson is worried about the impact midfielder Andrea Pirlo could have when his side face Italy at the World Cup.

Even at 34, Pirlo is enjoying a strong campaign with Serie A leaders Juventus, who look set for a third straight league title.

And with England and Italy making their 2014 World Cup bow against each other on June 14, Hodgson believes the midfielder could have the most significant impact on his squad's chances of triumph.

"We have respect for everyone but if I have to give a name, I say Pirlo," Hodgson told Mediaset.

"In the last 10 years, he has made Italy play. I had him three months at Inter and he has had an incredible career."

Playing in Manaus is one of many challenges facing teams in Brazil, with the hot and humid conditions expected to favour the South American sides.

But Hodgson believes there is no advantage for any team, hoping his players will be prepared for the conditions.

"We will do like any other team that will play in Manaus, which has a special climate," he said.

"We are doing everything possible to prepare the players in order to deal with these conditions.

"It's not the best situation for us but neither for Italy. I don't think right now this even represents an advantage for any South American side."