It’s too bad that England lost this game, because both teams deserved to take points from this encounter.
Italian forward Mario Balotelli, who we identified as a player to watch in our player previews, scored five minutes after halftime and that goal ended up being decisive as his team gained a valuable three points against what is sure to be their toughest opponents in Group D.
Both teams came out ready to take the game by the scruff of the neck with Italy dominating the possession early before England’s Raheem Sterling did this in the third minute.
You thought it went in didn’t you? Well it turns out that shot was just a sign of things to come as both teams expressed themselves openly in a free-flowing game.
Then in the 35th minute Italy’s Claudio Marchisio broke the deadlock with a great strike following an Andrea Pirlo dummy.
That slim lead was zapped just two minutes later as Sterling supplied a world-class pass to Wayne Rooney who in turn put the ball on a platter for Daniel Sturridge to blast home.
The score would remain tied at halftime, but five minutes following the interval Balotelli made his presence felt.
England then put enormous amounts of pressure on the Italian defense but to no avail as they just couldn’t find the back of the net.
By the way, this is who Balotelli is going home to after that performance.