Proud of the lads. It was their best performance in a World Cup game probably since Italia 90. The guys were brilliant, especially goalscorer Sturridge and Sterling, who terrified the Italian defence. Football is a funny old game and sometimes the best team loses, and that's what happened last night.
According to BBC Radio Five Live, Italy's performance has been criticised in the Brazilian press, with one newspaper praising England for their attacking, threatening football and criticising Italy for their slow, ineffective passing about the pitch. In the paper's player ratings, Sterling was awarded the highest points of all the players. So England impressed the Brazilians last night - and if you impress the Brazilians at football you must be doing something right.
Italy were eventually left hanging on, with England bringing on wave after wave of attack in the second half to try and get a well-deserved draw at least - which they would have got had Rooney not missed an absolute sitter which, most other times, he would have scored. Italy were lucky to keep the lead and very lucky to win that match.
England will beat Uruguay and Costa Rica in their final two games in the group and qualify for the Last 16. There was nothing last night in the game between those two teams - Uruguay's shock defeat is great news for England - that say they will be a threat to either England or Italy.
Uruguay were supposed to be this strong side with Suarez conquering all before him but, unfortunately for them, the guy has injury problems and didn't play against Costa Rica last night, which may partially expain Uruguay's surprise defeat. So it's very likely he will also be missing against England, but even if he does play against us he won't be fully match fit. So Suarez will not pose much of a threat to England. And the pacy Sturridge and Sterling - who were the best players on the pitch last night - will terrify a Uruguayan central defence which was slow and sluggish against the Costa Ricans.
So it was a good day for England yesterday. They first saw the Uruguayans suffer a shock defeat against Costa Rica, which has only helped England's qualification chances, and then they suffered a narrow defeat against a good Italy side despite playing their best football for a long time.
Remember - Spain lost their opening match of the 2010 World Cup (as they did in this one) and they went on to WIN the tournament.
England and Italy to qualify from the group, as I expected all along.
England v Italy: Roy Hodgson's young team promise bright future despite losing first game in World Cup 2014
Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Ross Barkley bring a vibrant approach which means Italy game is the start of an exciting journey
On the ball: Raheem Sterling puts in a cross as Marco Verratti challenges Photo: GETTY IMAGES
, Chief Sports Writer, Manaus
15 Jun 2014
Rebirths tend to work best when
everyone gets behind them, which means England's fans displaying their appreciation for what Roy Hodgson’s youngsters were trying to achieve against Italy in Manaus.
The day after an opening tournament game, St George’s legions tend to find themselves giving vent to boredom or anger.
But this World Cup 2014 Group D performance in 30-degree heat against a side marshalled by Andrea Pirlo was in a different league to the corresponding fixtures in 2010, 2006 and 2002.
A comfortable win against Tunisia at France 98 was of a higher quality than we saw in game one from 2002-2010.
This game, though, despite being a 2-1 defeat, expressed a buccaneering spirit against one of football’s superpowers.
So here comes the test. Either the audience back home can lapse into grumpy fatalism or they can see this as the start of something promising.
Roy Hodgson, the manager, called it the “best” performance of his time in charge. Cesare Prandelli, his Italian counterpart, said:
“England until just a few years ago played long balls and headers, now they play good football.”
Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Ross Barkley all played as they would for their clubs, with enterprise and energy.
They relished the chance to impose their talent on Italy.
If the physiotherapist Gary Lewin’s goal-celebration injury was a very English mishap, the intricacy with which England worked the ball around the Italian penalty box was a refreshing upgrade on the last 12 years.
England physio Gary Lewin injured his ankle whilst celebrating Sturridge's equaliser against Italy
The counter-point is that the two full-backs, Glen Johnson and Leighton Baines, were frequently beaten by Italian attackers and Gary Cahill, one of the best defenders in the last Premier League season, was beaten in the air by Mario Balotelli for Italy’s winning goal.
The front of England’s team improved while the rear looked vulnerable.
They were not alone. The rearguards of Spain and Uruguay were taken apart by Holland and Costa Rica respectively.
Attackers are in heaven at this World Cup. Defenders are looking traumatised.
Yet England posted 18 shots on goal and 48 per cent possession against expert ball-retaining opposition. Barkley, Jack Wilshere and Adam Lallana all joined the action.
In the past England teams have retreated into their psychological compounds in the face of public and media hostility.
This one will benefit from the knowledge that their audience understand which path they are on.
That way, Roy’s Boys can bear down on a ruined Uruguayan defence with extra confidence. That way, they could still qualify from this group.
England v Italy: Roy Hodgson's young team promise bright future despite losing first game in World Cup 2014 - Telegraph
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jun 15th, 2014 at 07:37 AM..