Claudio Villa

England vs. Italy, 2014 World Cup: Mario Balotelli wins it

Italy's biggest star came up huge. The Azzurri downed England, 2-1, thanks to Mario Balotelli's winner.

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16 Total Updates since June 14, 2014
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How are England fans feeling about Wayne Rooney's performance?



England's second half, in summary

First Wayne Rooney was like

Then Joe Hart was like

And Italy won without really trying.


England humbled in the jungle as Italy win

Italy were too good for England in a hot and humid Manaus, with Claudio Marchisio and Mario Balotelli scoring for the Azzurri either side of Daniel Sturridge's goal.


Good job, Joe Hart!

Excellent positioning!


Gerrard flops on the ref

England's Steven Gerrard had a little trouble navigating around the match referee.

At least he actually tripped on something this time, instead of just falling over like he did against Chelsea.


Balo strikes for Italy

Italy had a couple of huge chances to score just before the halftime break, and they've picked up where they left off to begin the second half. Mario Balotelli -- who nearly scored with a gorgeous chip -- has finally hit the back of the net.

That's a great header, but how about the cross from Antonio Candreva? What a brilliant assist.


England physio injures himself celebrating

The 50-year-old physiotherapist collapsed with an apparent ankle injury after jumping off the England bench to celebrate Daniel Sturridge's equalizer.


How did Italy not score again?

England and Italy are locked up at 1-1 at halftime, but the Three Lions probably shouldn't be doing so well. They gave up two huge chances in first half stoppage time, and by some miracle, Italy failed to finish both of them.

This is just absolutely gorgeous by Mario Balotelli, but what is Joe Hart doing?

Just a minute after that, Antonio Candreva hit the post.

Hart and England's set piece defending are a disaster. Roy Hodgson has some work to do in the locker room.


Back to back goals, it's 1-1

The last time England and Italy played, it was an awful bore. This time around? It couldn't be any more fun. Claudio Marchisio fired Italy ahead with a great set piece goal, but Daniel Sturridge came up with an instant reply, and it's 1-1 after 37 minutes.

England's defending on the Marchisio goal was ... uhh ... not good.

But England's response was instant. Notable here: Wayne Rooney actually did a thing!

And suddenly, this game is much more interesting than it has any interest being, which is a bit of a theme in this World Cup. Costa Rica weren't supposed to challenge Uruguay either, and Australia weren't supposed to challenge Chile.

With England and Italy heading into halftime, both coaches are probably going to make pretty serious adjustments. The Azzurri are getting torched on the counter, while England can't defend set plays and are allowing Andrea Pirlo all kinds of space.


Raheem Sterling fooled the BBC

Raheem Sterling didn't score on a shot from distance, but everyone thought he did.


Watch Sterling trick everyone

I've watched this 50 times and I still see the ball hitting the back of the net.

It didn't. That's side netting. What the hell.


England vs. Italy: Lineups

Raheem Sterling is in for England. A couple of newcomers are in defense for Italy.


How to watch England vs. Italy

The Three Lions face Gli Azzurri in the group stage opener for both teams. Here's how to watch on TV and online.


England and Italy share midfield weaknesses

Both England and Italy have flaws in midfield, making their clash rather unpredictable.


A new fan's primer for England-Italy

Two sides that are always different and always the same collide in what could be one of the best games in the Group Stage.

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