World Cup 2014: England loss to Italy need not spell disaster

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“England’s players may have left the draining conditions of Manaus and returned to Rio beaten by Italy in their first World Cup game – but this was a defeat that felt different. When England flew home from South Africa four years ago it was after a campaign that died of boredom and incompetence under the austere “Camp Capello” regime. Here there was boldness and a sense of adventure, even if Roy Hodgson’s side left the Amazonian rainforest empty-handed. The 2-1 loss to the Azzurri will have been painful and damaging but there was at least a sense that England had provided cause for optimism and hope they may yet navigate a route out of this tough Group D.” BBC

Raheem Sterling vindicates inclusion on England World Cup debut with promise for future
“England have been to too many tournaments and been lifeless, fearful and gone home early. England may be thrown out of this magnificent World Cup party prematurely but at least they are having a go, playing with a zest not seen in more sterile recent tournaments. England lost a game but gained some friends. Raheem Sterling is part of that welcome development, this step towards an age of enlightenment, but he’s still a work in progress, still learning against masterful opponents like Italy. England have to persist with Sterling, persist with this move towards a more sophisticated style.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

England 1-2 Italy: Jonathan Wilson’s Tactical Verdict
“The assumption had been that if Wayne Rooney was asked to play wide on the left it would be because England were playing a 4-3-3. In a 4-2-3-1, it was assumed, he would play behind Daniel Sturridge. But Roy Hodgson instead used Raheem Sterling in a central position, and he excelled there, looking composed at home from the moment he cracked a shot into the side-netting in the fourth minute. England’s great strength going forward is their pace, and there were signs of the sort of intermovement that could take best advantage of that. It’s easy, because of his pace, to assume that Sterling is primarily a threat because of his speed, but he can also be a measured and intelligent footballer, as he showed with the pass that released Rooney to cross for Sturridge to score the England equaliser. Sturridge himself had a good night, not just with the goal but in the way he constantly moved across the forward line, creating space.” Bet – Jonathan Wilson

World Cup Tactical Analysis: England 1-2 Italy
“With the World Cup in full swing now, the action shifted to the aptly labelled Group D, the Group of Death. This group, apart from containing minnows Costa Rica who went on to shock Uruguay, also had two giants of world football, England and Italy. These two titans locked horns in the middle of the Amazon Forest in a crunch World Cup tie to try and take advantage of Uruguay’s slip up.” Outside of the Boot

Watching the Three Lions Get Mauled at an Italian Restaurant in New Jersey
“I have no idea why I thought this was a good idea: watching England’s first game at Dusal’s, an Italian restaurant run by a bunch of guys from Naples. Perhaps I hoped that the Napolitano distrust of northern Italian prejudice—and by extension, ‘Italy’ as a concept—might make them sympathetic to a Brit 3,000 miles from home. Didn’t Maradona ask Napolitanos to back Argentina in their 1990 World Cup semi-final against Italy? And how did that work out for him?” New Republic

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