England begin their World Cup campaign against Italy deep in the heart of the Amazon on Saturday. We take a look at the key battles which could determine the Group D clash in Manaus.
STEVEN GERRARD v ANDREA PIRLO
After starring in Italy's Euro 2012 triumph against England, much of the pre-match build-up has surrounded how Pirlo can be stopped. He may be 35 but he still has the ability to tear England apart, but Gerrard is also coming off a fine season at Liverpool where he has excelled in a deeper midfield role. With both men likely to sit back their paths may only cross a few times during the match itself, but if either one of them can take control of the game in midfield it will go a long way to deciding the result.
DANIEL STURRIDGE v GIORGIO CHIELLINI
Having netted 21 league goals for Liverpool last season, Sturridge has proved himself more than capable of hurting the very best of teams. He has yet to replicate that form for England but will be given the chance against Italy, leading the line at the Arena Amazonia. The versatile and experienced Chiellini will be key in Italy's attempt to keeping Sturridge and England at bay, with the 29-year-old likely to prove tough opposition for the striker.
GARY CAHILL v MARIO BALOTELLI
Capable of everything from the sublime to the ridiculous, England will be hoping not to be saying after Saturday's match 'why always him?' Balotelli is a wonderful talent but an unpredictable one - Cahill admitted as much in the build-up to the match, adding that the Italian is "one of the best". The former Manchester City striker certainly has the ability to hurt England and it will be up to Cahill to help thwart him.