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Prandelli calm ahead of Italy opener

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has said defeat in their opening World Cup game against England on Saturday night would not be a disaster.

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Goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon is a doubt for the clash in Manaus after twisting his ankle in training, while Prandelli's men come into the competition without a win in seven matches.

But the coach said qualification for the knockout stage would not be determined by the opening match, telling a news conference: "History tells us that the first games of a World Cup are never decisive.

"Look at what happened to Spain in South Africa, when they still won the title after losing their opening game to Switzerland. The opening games may never be decisive, but they are important -- not only for the three points but also for the extraordinary strength a positive result can give you."

Prandelli said he believed his players were ready to meet the challenges posed by England and would not let their country down.

"For four years, when the national team has been playing we have felt this sense of responsibility," he said. "Of course at a World Cup, the whole thing is amplified. We will be able to honour the shirts we wear.

"I've got a very good feeling and we've worked in a way to be ready, not only physically but also psychologically, for this game."

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