Steven Gerrard Issues Final Warning Shot To Italy

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  • Steven Gerrard has issued a final rally cry for England on the eve of their opening Group D game of the 2014 World Cup against Italy, saying there are "no excuses now".

    The England captain said that nothing has been left to chance in the build up to his side's preparation for the tournament, and says England will have 'no regrets' as they kick off their campaign against Italy on Saturday night at 11pm in Manaus.

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    “The excitement has crept in now", said Gerrard. “All the miles we’ve covered, all the heat preparation, we’ve done all that. There are no excuses now. It’s time to walk the walk. In general with footballers when things don’t go right, the easy way out is to look for an excuse. You point fingers and blame others.

    “Everyone’s got a good blend of players, everyone will think they have prepared right and then it boils down to who wants it the most? Who gets the small details right? Who has that bit of luck? Are we going to be lucky? Will the small details and the referee decisions go our way? All I can say is what we can control we have done. We haven’t cut any corners.”

    Italy knocked England out of Euro 2012 in a penalty shoot-out during their quarter-finals clash two years ago, but Gerrard is confident that their latest contest will be a different story.

    “They had a lot of the ball [in 2012] but it was very different circumstances to now", he added. "With the energy and pace and mobility we have, I don’t fear that it will be anything like the game in Kiev.

    "That was two years ago; it’s history, we hope we have learned things from it, but I’m much more interested in the videos we’ve put together of Italy playing over the last year than a game that took place two years ago.”

    Gerrard and Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson appear certain to start in front of the England back four, while support for Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge up front is still undecided. Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana are the front-runners, the decision largely depending on the fitness of Manchester United forward Welbeck after suffering thigh strain in training earlier this week.

    England and Italy kick off at 11pm in Manaus, the match shown live on BBC One. You can also compare the 2014 World Cup betting odds for both teams here.

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