Zola: Inexperience will hamper England

Gianfranco Zola believes that inexperience will count against England in their opening FIFA World Cup fixture against Italy.

The two teams have been drawn in a tough Group D along with Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Roy Hodgson selected a somewhat youthful England squad, with the likes of Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, Everton midfielder Ross Barkley and Southampton full-back Luke Shaw all included in the 23-man party.

And former Chelsea striker Zola, capped over 30 times for Italy during the 1990s, thinks Cesare Prandelli's men will benefit from having more players with big-game experience.

"Italy's advantage is having more experience than England to play such games," said Zola at a cultural event in Naples.

"England are very young, just like Italy. In my opinion the two sides will have a similar World Cup."

Zola has fond memories of playing against England, having scored the winner in a 1-0 victory at Wembley in a World Cup qualifier in 1997.

And the 47-year-old is hopeful of the same outcome when the sides meet on Saturday.

He added: "(It is) a great memory because that was a very cherished game. It meant so much for them and for us too.

"I think it was the first game with Cesare Maldini as coach and England wanted to win because to play at Wembley for them is a sacred thing.

"That was an extraordinary experience since we were playing in England. I still have goose bumps (when I) remember such a day. Let's hope to repeat the feat on Saturday."


SHARES
comments