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Johnson: England have improved

England full-back Glen Johnson says the team have progressed as an attacking force since they lost to Italy on penalties at Euro 2012.

The teams, who face each other in their first match at the World Cup on June 14, battled their way to a goalless draw two years ago, before Italy held their nerve from the penalty spot to book a place in the semi-finals

Johnson is one of the six England players from the starting line-up in Kiev who could feature in Manaus on Saturday and warned the Azzurri that his side will pose far more of a threat in attack this time around.

"I think we had a good team when we played Italy last time, but now we have more players who can hurt them attacking-wise," said Johnson.

"We have a bit more pace in the squad as well so hopefully we will get further on.

"I don't think Italy will have met an England team like this before. The team we had before was a good side but maybe it was slightly defensive.

"If we can defend well now and use some of the pace and ability we have going forward we can cause problems."

England arrived in Brazil on Sunday after completing their pre-World Cup friendly programme with a 0-0 draw with Honduras.

Winger Raheem Sterling missed the game in Miami after being sent off in the previous warm-up fixture against Ecuador, and Johnson believes his Liverpool team-mate could be England's secret weapon in Brazil.

"It would be ideal if people don't know what he is capable of and people underestimate him a bit," he said.

"That would definitely work in our favour. Hopefully people will underestimate him and then he can prove them wrong.

"I think he has looked good all year. He is a young kid who is willing to learn about the game and he should just get better."