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')

Cesare Prandelli lauds match-winning Mario Balotelli

Italy's forward Mario Balotelli heads the ball to score a goal as England's goalkeeper Joe Hart (L) and England's defender Gary Cahill try to defend during a Group D football match between England and Italy at the Amazonia Arena in Manaus during the 2014
© Getty Images
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli singles out match-winning Mario Balotelli for special praise following the 2-1 World Cup victory over England.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has praised striker Mario Balotelli for his match-winning performance in the 2-1 triumph over England this morning.

The Azzurri kick-started their World Cup campaign with a victory in their Group D opener courtesy of Balotelli's second-half header.

Prandelli was full of praise for the way his whole team coped with the sweltering heat in Manaus, but singled out the AC Milan hitman for special credit.

"It was impossible to maintain that level of intensity [in the heat]. The team suffered, but we maintained the supremacy in the middle of the field," he told Rai Sports

"We worked well in training and it showed, as midway through the second half England's players had cramp. It means our work paid off.

"Balotelli gave everything he possibly could've given. Everyone gave their all."

Italy resume World Cup duties by facing Costa Rica on Thursday.

Italy's forward Mario Balotelli celebrates with teammates after scoring 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
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