England got off to a poor start last night in the humid heat of the Amazon, when they were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their first of three group games.
England team before the game last night
Italy went ahead in the first half with a good goal from Marchisio after 34 minutes when he hit home a good drive from outside the penalty box, but it was poor defending by England and there wasn‘t an England man close to the Italian.
And then we heard from the English commentators that when Italy have gone ahead in 55 of their last World Cup (final) games they had lost only five and how hard it was to come back once Italy went ahead in a game.
Why are they always so negative?
And two minutes later England scored a beautiful team goal, as young Sterling put through a defense splitting pass to Wayne Rooney on the left wing, and Wayne put in a perfect cross for Sturridge to smash the ball home with his right foot and England were level.
Both teams were respecting each other but then after 50 minutes poor defending again allowed Balotelli to easily head home at the far post.
England tried gallantly to get the equalizer and Wayne Rooney missed a decent chance, and soon after Ross Barkley came on as a substitute after 61 minutes he forced stand-in goalkeeper Sirgu of PSV to save well down to his left.
It was a decent display from England and they played quite well but Italy were better, and you could see why Italy have won the World Cup four times – because they know how to win big games.
England manager Roy Hodgson to his credit gave new young players a chance, and Sterling, Welbeck and Henderson all started, and he brought Barkley, Wilshire and Lallana on as subs in the second half.
It was a narrow defeat, but now England may have to win their next two games against Uruguay and Costa Rica to advance from the group.
And in the first game in our Group D there was a major shock after Uruguay were given a dodgy penalty to go ahead ion the first half.
Costa Rica came back with three good goals in the second half and deserved to beat the beaten semi-finalists of four years ago who are ranked 7 in the latest FIFA poll.
But the chances of England winning something for the first time since 1966 are not looking good now,although we could still advance from the group.
Sterling, Welbeck and Sturridge gave England good speed and ability and we looked good at times last night, but as we said – even without the injured Gigi Buffon and two missing back four players, Italy knew how to get the job done last night – and they did.
England now play Uruguay on Thursday in the next game.