Saturday, 14 June 2014

England 1-2 Italy - PLAYER RATINGS: A fast and exciting Raheem Sterling couldn't inspire Three Lions to World Cup win


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  • England lose World Cup opener 2-1 to Italy with a Mario Balotelli winner
  • Roy Hodgson selects bold attacking line-up with Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling and Wayne Rooney behind Daniel Sturridge up front
  • Sterling plays best for England, while Antonio Candreva came out on top for Italy
England couldn't get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start as Italy beat Roy Hodgson's men 2-1 in Manaus.
Daniel Sturridge's equaliser looked to have given England hope after they went 1-0 down, courtesy of a superb Claudio Marchisio strike, before Mario Balotelli sealed the win with a well-timed header.
But how did England fare as individuals? MATT BARLOW gives his ratings.

England suffered a disappointing night in Manaus as they lost their World Cup opener to Italy in Group D
England suffered a disappointing night in Manaus as they lost their World Cup opener to Italy in Group D
ENGLAND (4-2-3-1)
JOE HART: 6
A little jittery at times as England flapped in front of him. Kept out a deflected Candreva effort, teased out of goal by Balotelli. No chance with the goals.

Conceded: Joe Hart (right) couldn't stop Mario Balotelli (second from left) from giving Italy a 2-1 lead
Conceded: Joe Hart (right) couldn't stop Mario Balotelli (second from left) from giving Italy a 2-1 lead

GLEN JOHNSON: 6 
Usual unsatisfactory blend mix of athleticism and sloppiness. May have escaped with a handball.
PHIL JAGIELKA: 7 
Solid and England’s best defender. Handled Balotelli well in the main and showed good instinct to make the goal line clearance.

Saved: Phil Jagielka was solid and England's best defender. He handled Italy well and his goal-line clearance was superb
Saved: Phil Jagielka was solid and England's best defender. He handled Italy well and his goal-line clearance was superb
GARY CAHILL: 6 
Most of the threat for England came tracking runners from wider and deeper but lost Balotelli for the second Italy goal.
LEIGHTON BAINES: 5.5 
Exposed by lack of protection and over-loaded with Darmian and Candreva. Unable to contribute going forward until Italy sat back late on.
JORDAN HENDERSON: 6.5 
Could not break up the Italian passers but did what he does well. Covered the yards, forced early save, passed it well and made the right decisions.
STEVEN GERRARD: 7 
Strong and disciplined. Passed it well as ever, and organised the team. Even shielded his centre-halves not always his strength.

Captain: Steven Gerrard was strong and disciplined, passed it well, and organised the team. It counted for little.
Captain: Steven Gerrard was strong and disciplined, passed it well, and organised the team. It counted for little.

DANNY WELBECK: 6.5 
Drifted in and our fizzed a right-footer wide from 25 yards during his best spell in the first-half.
RAHEEM STERLING: 7.5 
Fast, exciting and influential. Didn’t always come off but buzzed with invention and threaded Rooney through for Sturridge’s goal.

Chance: Raheem Sterling was fast, exciting and influential. Didn't always come off but gave England a spark
Chance: Raheem Sterling was fast, exciting and influential. Didn't always come off but gave England a spark

WAYNE ROONEY: 6 
Laboured and looked lost on the left at times, unsure where to be, when to rest. Yet one perfect cross for Sturridge’s goal and went close second half.
DANIEL STURRIDGE: 7 
Quiet until he scored, which showcased his nose for goal. More effective afterwards. Worked Sirigu again after the break.

Opener: Daniel Sturridge gets England back into the game against Italy on Saturday night
Opener: Daniel Sturridge gets England back into the game against Italy on Saturday night
Barkley (for Welbeck) made an instant impact forcing Sirigu into a save. Wilshere (for Henderson).
MANAGER: ROY HODGSON: 6 
Bold selection to go with a very offensive front-four allowed Italy to much time and space in attack. Made for thrills and spills but England were porous.

Bold: England manager Roy Hodgson picked an attacking line-up but Italy had too much space and time
Bold: England manager Roy Hodgson picked an attacking line-up but Italy had too much space and time
ITALY (4-3-2-1)
SALVATORE SIRIGU: 6 
Late call up. Made a fine early save from Henderson but does not command like Buffon.
MATTEO DARMIAN: 7.5 
Terrific attacking threat with his overlapping runs but opened up by Sterling and Rooney for Sturridge goal.
GABRIEL PALETTA: 6 
Summoned amid defensive reshuffle and a soft-spot in the heart of the back-four. Struggled with the movement. Could have been punished for clumsy barge on Gerrard.

Helping hand: Gabriel Paletta (right) could have been punished for a clumsy barge on Steven Gerrard (left)
Helping hand: Gabriel Paletta (right) could have been punished for a clumsy barge on Steven Gerrard (left)
Made on incredible recovery clear to keep Welbeck’s cross from Sterling and the best of Italy’s defenders.
GIORGIO CHIELLINI: 6
Rugged and strong but not nimble on the ball and often caught out by Welbeck.
MARCO VERRATTI: 6.5 
Tidy and metronomic. Guarded possession and rarely gave it away. Another little Pirlo in the making.

Potential: Marco Verratti (right) proved another Andrea Pirlo in the making against England
Potential: Marco Verratti (right) proved another Andrea Pirlo in the making against England
Physical and aggressive, with good delivery, although seemed short of the pace of the game at times. Strong when his team needed to defend late on.
ANDREA PIRLO: 7 
Captain in Buffon’s absence. Exquisite caress on each pass whether it goes two yards of 50. Delightful dummy for Marchisio to score.
ANTONIO CANDREVA: 8 
Linked well with Darmian and punished England’s left side. Excellent delivery and threatened goal. Hit post and delivered for Balotelli’s header.

Antonio Candreva (left) linked well with Darmian and punished Leighton Baines (right) down the left flank
Antonio Candreva (left) linked well with Darmian and punished Leighton Baines (right) down the left flank
Quiet start from a player carrying many Italian hopes but produced a crisp and sweet 25-yard strike to opening the scoring.
MARIO BALOTELLI: 7 
Mobile and ever dangerous. One shot over, another cleared off the line and a goal.

Mario Balotelli was mobile and dangerous as ever, and his goal gave Italy the win
Mario Balotelli was mobile and dangerous as ever, and his goal gave Italy the win
Thiago Motta (for Verratti) to tighten thing up with a lead to protect. Immobile (for Balotelli)
MANAGER: CESARE PRANDELLI: 7
Preparations rocked by injuries at the back. Not a watertight Italian vintage but creative in attack with a goal threat.

In charge: Italy coach Cesare Prandelli (left) was creative in attack against Hodgson on Saturday
In charge: Italy coach Cesare Prandelli (left) was creative in attack against Hodgson on Saturday



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