Jun 14, 2014 at 11pm UK at ​Arena Amazonia, Manaus
England
1-2
Italy
Sturridge (37')
Sterling (90')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Marchisio (35'), Balotelli (50')

Player Ratings: England 1-2 Italy

Sports Mole takes a look at who impressed during England's 2-1 defeat to Italy in their opening World Cup match this evening.

England's World Cup campaign got off to a bittersweet start tonight as they played well in a losing effort against the Italians in Manaus.

Claudio Marchisio's opening goal was quickly cancelled out by Daniel Sturridge shortly before the break, but Mario Balotelli grabbed the winner for the Azzurri five minutes after the restart.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look at who impressed during a pulsating 90 minutes of World Cup action.


England's players prior to the football match between England and Italy at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 14, 2014© Getty Images

England

Goal

Joe Hart: Didn't really have too much to do. Recovered from a nervy save early on to make a couple of more routine stops, while he also did well to come off his line and initially deny Balotelli at the end of his first half. Could do nothing about either goal. (6/10)

Defence

Glen Johnson: Another suspect display from a player who is perhaps too comfortable in his position. Threatened in an attacking sense on a couple of occasions but was nowhere to be seen for the winner having been dragged out of position. (5/10)

Gary Cahill: Dealt with the threat of Balotelli for the most part, but was unable to stop him for the winner. Perhaps could have been closer to the striker, but it was more a case of a good cross than poor defending. (6/10)

Phil Jagielka: Joined Cahill in dealing with Balotelli for most of the game, while he also made some important clearances from dangerous Candreva deliveries. Pulled off a superb goal line clearance to deny Balotelli just before half time. (7/10)

Leighton Baines: Struggled all match against the threat of Candreva and Darmian. In his defence, he was given little help from the man in front of him, but it was still a poor display from the Everton full-back. (4/10)

Midfield

Jordan Henderson: Tested Sirigu with a powerful drive from distance in the early stages, but that was about as good as it got. Didn't do anything particularly detrimental, but struggled to have much of an impact on the game. (6/10)

Steven Gerrard: Was found lacking defensively on a couple of occasions when Baines was screaming out for help. Played some lovely trademark passes but, like Henderson, didn't have a great impact on the match. (6/10)

Attack

Danny Welbeck: Responded to questions over his selection with a good team performance. Was superb off the ball when closing down the Italian defence and midfield, but could have been better in possession. Created a couple of chances and looked bright linking up with Sterling and Sturridge. (7/10)

Raheem Sterling: A breath of fresh air to the England team. From the start of the match he was always looking to take players on, and more often than not he managed it. Was a constant thorn in Italy's side and was comfortably England's best player. Decision-making still needs some work, but he is a raw talent that should be used again in this World Cup. (8/10)

Wayne Rooney: Another disappointing showing in an England shirt. Gave Baines nowhere near enough help or cover in his unfamiliar role on the left, leading to Italy's dominance on that flank. Squandered a glorious chance for the equaliser and wasted a couple of other good positions. Did set up Sturridge's goal with a delightful cross on the counter, but that was a rare positive moment for Rooney tonight. (5/10)

Daniel Sturridge: Took his goal well with a smart finish at the back post, as there was still work to be done to convert it. Linked up well with Welbeck and Sterling at times but struggled to get in behind the Italy defence too often. (7/10)

Substitutes

Ross Barkley: Came on for Welbeck with half an hour remaining and made some of his usual bullish runs down the middle. Showed glimpses of his prodigious talent, but perhaps didn't have the impact against tiring legs that Hodgson would have hoped. (7/10)

Jack Wilshere: Replaced Henderson in the 73rd minute but didn't really add anything special to the match. Similar to the man he came on for, he struggled to have much of an influence. (6/10)

Adam Lallana: Had 10 minutes at the end in place of Sturridge and tried to inject some positive runs into the play, but was unable to make many inroads. (6/10)


Member of Italy's national football team  pose for team photo during a Group D football match between England and Italy at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 14, 2014© Getty Images

Italy

Goal

Salvatore Sirigu: Was kept relatively busy throughout, but wasn't forced into any truly amazing stops. Most were routine parries away, but he made every one of them. Could do nothing about Sturridge's goal. (7/10)

Defence

Matteo Darmian: A constant threat with his runs down the right, often teaming up with Candreva against an isolated Baines. Took advantage of Rooney not tracking back to maraud up and down the wing all night. (8/10)

Andrea Barzagli: Solid game from the centre-back as Italy limited England mostly to long shots. Struggled at times at keep on the pacey strikers, but was never caught out too badly. (6/10)

Gabriel Paletta: The man England got most joy out of in the Italy defence. A late arrival into the team due to an injury to a teammate, and he seemed to be earmarked as a weak point. Had some moments where he was exposed, but didn't have a shocking match. (6/10)

Giorgio Chiellini: Solid as ever, even having been moved over to the left side. Welbeck didn't run at him too often, which meant that he wasn't tested for pace as much as he might have been. (7/10)

Midfield

Daniele de Rossi: Went about his business fairly quietly as Italy got the edge in midfield. Acted as the stopper in the hole where Sterling was looking to operate, but had his hands full with England's attackers. (6/10)

Claudio Marchisio: Took his goal really well with a pinpoint finish into the bottom corner through a crowd of players. Had a relatively quiet match other than that. (7/10)

Marco Verratti: Was never far away from Sterling and, without Verratti, the England youngster may have had an even bigger influence on the game. Sterling just about won the personal duel, but Verratti made it tough for him. (7/10)

Andrea Pirlo: Classy and majestic as ever. He didn't quite dominate this game the way he did in Kiev two years ago, but his ability was still plain to see. The maestro didn't get the assist for the opening goal, but he created it with a sublime dummy. He also struck the bar late on with one of the best free kicks you will see for some time. (8/10)

Antonio Candreva: Italy's most potent threat throughout and the man England found it hardest to deal with. His unorthodox position had Baines wondering whether to mark him or the overlapping Darmian, and the vast majority of Italy's attacks came from that flank. Provided a perfect cross for the winning goal and also hit the post himself at the end of the first half. (8/10)

Attack

Mario Balotelli: Was kept out of the match for large spells, but only needed one chance. Made no mistake with his header at the back post to notch the winning goal having previously seen a fabulous lob cleared off the line by Jagielka. (7/10)

Substitutes

Thiago Motta: Came on for Verratti in the 57th minute and picked up where the Paris Saint-Germain man left off. Solid display. (6/10)

Ciro Immobile: May have been disappointed not to start and came on at a time where defence was very much the priority for Italy. Had a chance to score late on with a counter-attack, but Cahill recovered well to deny him. (6/10)

Marco Parolo: Came on for the man of the match Candreva but, again, Italy were more focused on defence when he entered the fray. (6/10)


Steven Gerrard of England looks on during the England press conference ahead of their first match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil against Italy at Arena Amazonia on June 13, 2014
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