Paolo Di Canio believes Italy will have the edge over England next week because Premier League stars such as Wayne Rooney are going into the tournament "cooked".
The former Sunderland boss feels the punishing domestic schedule in England will be the undoing of Roy Hodgson's men in Brazil.
The Italian highlighted Rooney's all-action style and believes the Manchester United striker will once again fail to fire on the biggest stage.
"England are missing parts, the reserves are not up to par. And the players are tired. I really like Rooney but he arrives in these competitions cooked, because he plays a lot of games in the season," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"He gives all of himself, in every game, but the temperatures in Brazil will be very hard for him.
"They do not have a winter break. It's nice to play at Christmas, but they pay the price for this in June when the fatigue can be devastating."
However, Di Canio is intrigued by the younger players in the England squad, picking out Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw.
"They have interesting talents. I think in Sterling, Sturridge, Barkley. I like Shaw, who for me is one of the strongest full-backs in Europe - incredible strength, he is never tired," Di Canio added.
"But the English do have a problem - they do not play much together, but they must improve their understanding and they do not attack the space well."
Di Canio is not entirely convinced by Italy either, who have not won since beating the Czech Republic in September 2013, but he is still tipping them to be stronger than England.
"Lately I've noticed some difficulties, but the Italian players have the value of flexibility, they can change position," he said.
"They may lack a true identity, but the physical work done in the last two weeks will put them in a good position compared to the English, who are exhausted."