WORLD CUP: England lose opening Goup D match to Italy

Italy players and substitutes celebrate their 2-1 win over England
Italy players and substitutes celebrate their 2-1 win over England


England impressed in the heat and humidity of the Amazon, although they had to come from behind to go in level with four-time World Cup winners Italy.

Roy Hodgson’s side peppered the Azzurri goal from the outset, with the Three Lions’ exciting attacking options proving a nuisance at the Arena Amazonia.

However, there were shaky moments at the other end and Claudio Marchisio made them pay for their futility in front of goal, firing home from distance after Andrea Pirlo’s majestic stepover.

It was a lead that lasted just two minutes and 34 seconds, though, as Raheem Sterling, shining in just his third England start, split open the Italy defence with a ball to Wayne Rooney, whose cross to the back post was struck home by Daniel Sturridge.

Mario Balotelli was denied by a goal-line clearance and Antonio Candreva hit the post as Italy looked to regain the lead as the half came to a close, but 1-1 was a fair reflection of a pulsating encounter.

It had looked like those late chances had acted as wake-up call for England, as Sturridge quickly cut in from the right and forced Sirigu into a save.

That fine start to the second period was quickly forgotten, though, as Baines, not for the first time in Manaus, was exposed.

Candreva cut inside the Everton left-back and sent in a fine ball to the back post, where Balotelli was able to power home a header past Hart.


Uruguay’s all-time leading goalscorer Luis Suarez could only sit and watch from the sidelines as Costa Rica’s shock 3-1 victory in Fortaleza gave England an unexpected boost.

The Liverpool forward is still recuperating from keyhole surgery on a knee injury and is being held back for next week’s clash with Roy Hodgson’s side in Sao Paulo.

On this evidence his arrival cannot come too soon for his country as although fellow striker Edinson Cavani opened his World Cup account with a 24th-minute penalty he lacked the penetration and drive Suarez brings to the team.

With Uruguay missing that spark and failing to capitalise on their lead Costa Rica seized their chance with two goals in eight minutes early in the second half to blow Group D wide open after just one game.

Arsenal’s 21-year-old midfielder Joel Campbell, who hit the headlines with a stunning strike against Manchester United in the Champions League while on loan at Olympiacos, and Oscar Duarte’s first international goal did the damage as Suarez remained rooted to the bench.

Campbell then applied the coup de grace six minutes from time with a slide-rule pass which substitute Marcos Urena slid past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera from a narrow angle with virtually his first touch.