England will face four-time World Cup champions Italy in a crucial opener to their World Cup campaign at 3:00 am PST. Both teams are competing in a group dubbed the ‘Group of Death’ featuring the likes of Costa Rica and two-time World Cup champions Uruguay.

The Three Lions are led by Captain Steven Gerrard, who enjoyed a remarkable season with Liverpool under the guidance of manager Brendan Rodgers. Gerrard has the full confidence of England manager Roy Hodgson as he leads a team of both young and experienced players against a tough opposition. It is historically their second-youngest squad to compete in the World Cup.

Though England are not exactly considered ‘favorites’ this year they do stand an outside chance with most of the players having had a good run in the Premier League. Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge scored the second highest number of goals this season behind Uruguayan teammate Luis Suarez.

Wayne Rooney sits among the more experienced players in the English squad and will be looking to break his goal-scoring duck by putting one or two balls into Gigi Buffon’s net. His United teammate Danny Welbeck is also a useful forward and is fit to start after returning from an ankle injury. Youngster Raheem Sterling had an excellent season with Liverpool and is looking to have a strong impact alongside incoming Reds striker Rickie Lambert.

The midfield features the likes of experienced ex-Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, Southampton’s Adam Lallana, Manchester City’s James Milner and Everton’s Ross Barkley.

The defense has the promising left-back Luke Shaw, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United later this summer. Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill have all shown their strength at the back this season.

But the Italian side is not one to be taken lightly… With no shortage of quality players including talented midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio, striker Mario Balotelli, and defenders Ignazio Abate and Giorgio Chiellini, Italy aren’t going to go down without a fight.

When these two teams last met in Euro 2012, Italy had 64% possession in a goal-less match that ended on penalties with Italy coming out on top, so they do go into tonight’s match with a psychological edge. Pirlo is one of the best playmakers in football and will prove crucial to his side in tonight’s hotly-anticipated face off.

Captain Gerrard has sent out a rallying cry stating that there should be no excuses and that they simply have to deliver. Manager Hodgson is looking for home fans to cheer them on and to have a little faith.

He was quoted in the BBC saying the, “Time for talk is over, bring it on!”