Pazzini respects England defence

Azzurri striker hoping to steer clear of Three Lions

Pazzini: In fine form

Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini admits England's back four would give him the biggest World Cup headache.

The Azzurri and the Three Lions would need to go deep into this summer's tournament if they are to go head-to-head, but anything is possible.

Sampdoria frontman Pazzini would be wary of facing the Three Lions' defensive unit should they meet, as he feels they are the strongest in South Africa.

The 25-year-old forward is unlikely to start Italy's Group F campaign against Paraguay on Monday, but will be looking to force his way into the fold as the tournament unfolds.

Should he be able to earn a starting berth, he hopes Marcello Lippi's side can steer clear of England and the Samba stars of Brazil.

"England's defenders are very tough, they're very strong, I'd prefer to avoid them," said Pazzini.

"And Brazil's Lucio too, he's a bit particular, that's all I'm saying."

Rumours

Pazzini's fine domestic form over the course of the 2009/10 campaign saw him spearhead Sampdoria's push for a fourth-place finish in Serie A.

A number of lively displays also earned him admirers across Europe, leading to speculation that he could soon be on the move.

Pazzini is pleased to see his hard work acknowledged, but insists he is giving little thought to the prospect of a summer switch elsewhere.

"I've had a good season but I'm here to play the World Cup and I'm not thinking about that," he added.