World Cup, England vs Italy result: Azzurri down England 2-1


Group D at the 2014 World Cup was one of the most difficult draws in the tournament. With Uruguay, England and Italy bringing a combined seven World Cup trophies into this tournament in 9 finals appearances. Italy has four of the trophies and six of the appearances.

More from World Cup

Nevertheless, those three were expected to contend for the two spots available to the group in the round of 16, but Costa Rica threw a wrench into that theory by upsetting Uruguay in the group opener right before this game kicked off. Italy was also short-handed starting Salvatore Sirigu in goal instead of Gianluigi Buffon, who twisted his ankle in training before the game.

Italy dominated the possession early on but England had their fair share of chances in the first half and the English pace was giving Italy some trouble early on.

In the 32nd minute there was almost a goal from Mario Balotelli but be couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity. That was followed by another break into England’s defensive third by Italy and Claudio Marchisio, but his low cross went out of bounds and set up a corner.

The corner kick started off with a short pass and then a long one out above the box. It went through the legs of one Italian player who let it drift back to an awaiting Marchisio who stepped up and ripped a low shot into the bottom left corner. Marchisio was wide open and there was no one in sight to challenge him while he sized up his shot and took it.

It didn’t take long for the Three Lions to respond and level things, roughly two minutes actually. England forward Wayne Rooney had the ball charging down one side of the box and he sent in a cross in front of the goal.

The Manchester United forward’s perfect pass through a tight window found Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge on the far post unmarked. Sturridge didn’t need to do a whole lot of work, he just tapped it in for a simple and easy goal.

It was a beautiful play all-around. Great effort on Rooney’s part to get into the box and get that cross off and it was a beautiful pass through a tight window. The goal was equally important for England to take away any momentum that the Italians had just built up.

After that goal the Italian onslaught continued. Italian striker Mario Balotelli caught England goal keeper Joe Hart out from the goal and from a difficult angle chipped the ball over Hart and on target, but an England defender bailed Hart out and headed the ball away.

England were able to weather the storm and keep things tied heading into the break.

Early in the second half, Italy took the lead for the second time in the game. Italian midfielder Antonio Candreva was flying down the touch line when he got a through ball. Candreva showed some remarkable ball handling skill by cutting the ball back up the pitch towards the corner of the penalty box. A few yards out from the box Candreva sent a high cross across the goal towards the back post.

Waiting at the back post was polarizing AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli who was able to get up and over Gary Cahill to get his head on it. England keeper Joe Hart tried to race across the goal to get in position for the header but was just a bit too late to give himself enough time to react properly. The ball snuck in between Hart and the post closest to Balotelli.

England were back on the attack and there was a bit of a controversial no-call on English midfielder and captain Steven Gerrard. He went down in the box near the corner of the goal box and the ball went out of bounds. Gerrard and his English teammates looked for a penalty to be given, and they were being passed out this tournament, but Gerrard didn’t get the call and it was called a goal kick.

Minutes later Balotelli was at the back post again and nearly scored.

The English squad nearly tied the game again when Wayne Rooney got the ball in the box and a beautiful scoring opportunity. He had a defender cutting towards him and took a touch and cut it towards the middle of the box before ripping a shot. It went just wide of the nearside post and Rooney had the keeper beat.

The English attack continued and midfielder Ross Barkley, who was substituted on for Danny Welbeck had a shot on his first involvement in the game but Sirigu was able to get down and knock the low shot away.

England got a few more opportunities throughout the game, maybe none better than a Leighton Baines free kick from 25-30 yards outside of the box. The ball made it past the wall and was headed towards the near post but Sirigu was able to get his hands on it and knock it away again.

England captain Steven Gerrard got a free kick opportunity in the 85th minute, but sailed it over the cross bar by a few yards unable to give England that equalizing goal. The humidity and heat seemed to take a toll on the English players at this point despite all their training in South Florida to prepare for it.

Ross Barkley set up another attempt for Rooney bring the ball across the top of the box before leaving it for Rooney. This one sailed high over the goal after a Rooney strike. Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling took a shot in the 88th minute that deflected out of bounds giving England a corner kick and another opportunity to tie the game.

Rooney went up for the header but was unable to connect with it and get it on target. The England wave of attack continued but they weren’t able to get any shots on target.

In the third minute of stoppage time, Italian veteran Andrea Pirlo took a free kick from pretty far out and the ball curled over the wall and hit the cross bar before going out-of-bounds. Pirlo nearly gave Italy a two-goal lead in the final moments of the game, but ultimately they wouldn’t need it holding on to win 2-1 over England.

GIFs and videos are from @FanSidedGIF and either Mike Dyce or Zombie Prophet, make sure to follow those accounts for the latest in GIFs and videos from FanSided.