England were left disappointed as they crashed to a 2-1 defeat to Italy in their first game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Roy Hodgson’s men matched their opponents throughout the game and will be left disappointed having missed a number of good chances.
It was England who started the brightest, with Raheem Sterling, England’s best player on the night, going close with a long range effort.
The Italians began to grow in stature and took the lead with ten minutes to go before half time when Andrea Pirlo’s dummy allowed Claudio Marchisio to open the scoring.
England hit back immediately and were level inside of two minutes. Raheem Sterling sent Wayne Rooney through down the left and his cross was stabbed in by Daniel Sturridge.
The Italians regained the lead in the second half through former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, whose back-post header beat Joe Hart.
England pushed for an equaliser, bringing on Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana and Jack Wilshere.
Wayne Rooney went close when perhaps he should have done better and Barkley tested the ‘keeper but the Italians held on.
Elsewhere in Group D, Costa Rica pulled off the shock of the tournament beating Uruguay 3-1 as goals from Joel Campbell, Oscar Duarte and Marcos Urena cancelled out Edison Cavini’s opener.
Uruguay were without star man Luis Suarez and will go into Thursday’s game with England knowing that only a win will do.
Day three also saw the first round of matches in Group C. Columbia, missing Falcao, eased to a 3-0 win over Greece with key man James Rodriguez rounding off the scoring late on and Ivory Coast narrowly edged past Japan 2-1, thanks to two goals in two minutes from Swansea’s Wilfried Bony and former Arsenal man Gervinho.
Today at the World Cup…
One of the favourites for the tournament Argentina open their account against Bosnia & Herzegovina (23:00) with Lionel Messi hoping to star. The winners are likely to top the group.
France, who will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2010 World Cup where they failed to win a game, also open their Group E account against the un-fancied Honduras (20:00) and top seeds Switzerland take on Ecuador (17:00) in a match that could already decide who qualifies from the group.Tweet