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World Cup: England Defeated By Italy In Brazil

England has suffered a narrow defeat in its opening match of the 2014 World Cup, losing 2-1 to Italy in Manaus.

Italy opened the scoring with a Claudio Marchisio goal in the 35th minute, only for England to strike back when Daniel Sturridge scored from a Wayne Rooney cross.

The winning goal came for Italy in the 51st minute when Mario Balotelli scored with a header shortly after the half-time break.

Roy Hodgson’s side had several unsuccessful attacking efforts as they tried to get back into the game, but Italy’s Salvatore Sirigu put in a strong performance in goal.

There was an unusual injury for the England squad when the team’s physio, Gary Lewin, dislocated his ankle while celebrating Sturridge’s goal.

Lewin was carried off the sidelines after suffering the injury in the 37th minute.

The win sees Italy join Costa Rica on three points at the top of Group D.

A disappointed Stephen Gerrard said after the match: “Italy are a good team and we knew how they were going to play it.

“It’s disappointing because we put so much into it.”

Hodgson selected an attacking line-up for his team’s opening clash of the tournament.

Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling was named alongside Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney in the midfield.

Italy confirmed before the match that their captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon would miss the fixture because of an injury.

Hodgson had expressed his confidence in the team’s pre-tournament preparations.

“I think we are well prepared. I don’t think we are concerned about the heat and humidity because we have been training in heat and humidity,” he said.

The game at the Arena Amazonia was the first competitive encounter between the teams since Italy beat England in the 2012 European Championship quarter-finals.

Some 5,000 England fans travelled up the Amazon to support the side.

Supporters at home filled the pubs, which were allowed to stay open late for the match after the Home Office announced that licensing laws would be relaxed.

Extra buses were laid on in London to get fans home, however the Tube did not run later than normal.

Police had issued a warning urging people not to drink too much and “wake up in a police cell”.

Chief Superintendent Andy Prophet from Essex Police said: “The tournament is a celebration of football and a chance to feel national pride.

“It is however just a game and can never be an excuse for violence or disorder.

“I hope everyone enjoys the World Cup, but experience tells us we need to plan for the minority who spoil things.

“My message to anyone planning to go out tonight is have a great time, enjoy the game but please be sensible.”

Prime Minister David Cameron sent a good luck message ahead of the match, saying the country is behind the England team “every step of the way”.

“On behalf of the whole country I want to wish the England team the very best of luck for the World Cup,” Mr Cameron said.

“There is nothing like a World Cup to bring our country together.”

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