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FIFA World Cup: England crumble in the jungle

FIFA World Cup: England crumble in the jungle
June 15
07:17 2014

Italy continued their dominance over England at the 2014 World Cup, thanks to goals from Claudio Marchisio and Mario Balotelli in a 2-1 win at the Arena Amazonia.

Seen as the ‘rumble in jungle’ heading into the match, Italy made a good start to their campaign, beating Group D rivals in Manaus.

Daniel Sturridge had England on level terms at half-time, cancelling out Marchisio’s 35th-minute opener within two minutes.

But Balotelli repaid Coach Cesare Prandelli’s faith in him, popping up to head home the winner five minutes after the break, as England were left with just two wins in their past 12 international meetings against Italy.

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Italy are back in action against Costa Rica on Friday, while England face Uruguay a day earlier.

As far as chances were concerned, both sides were limited to long-range efforts inside the opening 20 minutes, with Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Antonio Candreva trying their luck from distance.

However, it was Italy who opened the scoring courtesy of Marchisio 11 minutes before the half-time interval after a well-executed short corner.

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Candreva passed to Andrea Pirlo on the edge of the box and the veteran midfielder sold a dummy to let the ball run through to Marchisio, who fired a low shot past goalkeeper Joe Hart from 25 yards.

The Italian’s lead was short-lived, their lack of pace in defence coming to aunt them two minutes later.

After a swift counter-attacking move, Wayne Rooney was freed on the left and delivered an inch-perfect cross for Sturridge to convert on the half volley.

Candreva was in the thick of the action as the second half resumed, beating Leighton Baines to pick out Balotelli at the back post and the Milan striker leapt highest to nod home his first international goal since October last year.

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Hodgson introduced midfield trio Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere and Adam Lallana in search of an equaliser, but it was the Italians came closest to a late goal with Pirlo hitting the crossbar with a free-kick in stoppage time, as they emerged triumphant in just their second World Cup clash against England.

 

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