MANAUS, Brazil – Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling was handed a start as England manager Roy Hodgson selected an attacking team to play Italy in his side's World Cup opener in Manaus on Saturday.
Sterling, 19, was named alongside Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney in the attacking midfield band of England's 4-2-3-1 formation, with Daniel Sturridge the lone striker.
Second-choice goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu started in goal for Italy after 2006 World Cup-winner Gianluigi Buffon sustained an ankle injury in training on Friday.
With AC Milan full-back Mattia De Sciglio unavailable due to a thigh problem, Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus started at left-back.
The Group D match at the Amazonia Arena in the rainforest city of Manaus will be the first encounter between the teams since Italy beat England on penalties in the quarter-finals of the 2012
Joe Hart; Glen Johnson, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines; Steven Gerrard (capt), Jordan Henderson; Raheem Sterling, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck; Daniel Sturridge
Coach: Roy Hodgson (ENG)
Salvatore Sirigu; Matteo Darmian, Andrea Barzagli, Gabriel Paletta, Giorgio Chiellini; Daniele De Rossi; Antonio Candreva, Andrea Pirlo (capt), Marco Verratti, Claudio Marchisio; Mario Balotelli
Coach: Cesare Prandelli (ITA)
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED) – Sapa-AFP