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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Phil Jagielka wants to help England get off to the perfect start against Italy on Saturday.
 
The Everton man will be part of the Three Lions back four when they kick off their World Cup campaign against Andrea Pirlo and co. in Manaus.
 
Jagielka was a frustrated onlooker when the Italians beat England on penalties at the Euros two summers ago.
 
He told evertontv: “I feel like as a squad we have got stronger since then.
 
“There are only three games in the group and you need at least one win. It’s important to get off to a good start.
 
“Hopefully after the Italy game we will be happy and have teed ourselves up nicely.”
 
Jagielka admits that a World Cup tournament taking place in one of football’s most romantic and iconic backdrops is one to savour.
 
He added: “I think it is the stuff of boyhood dreams. The age we are, Brazil were pretty much the best team in the world (growing up) and Italy weren’t far off it as well.
 
“It’s a little bit different now, a lot of nations have come a bit closer to these ‘super-nations’.
 
“Brazil is a magical place to play football. You see people playing on the Copacabana beach and it is going to be exciting.”

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