England’s Rio Road Trip Part I: Italy

June 17, 2014 9:00 am

We should all be feeling optimistic. Although England lost to Italy yet again at a major tournament it was an encouraging performance from Stevie G and the team he is captaining for the whole 90 minutes. When Marchisio dispatched a thunderbolt from a well worked corner routine after 35 minutes England fans may have been at home on the sofa dreading the outcome of the game. Two minutes later Daniel Sturridge netted the ball from excellent work by both Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling and our optimism was renewed. From that moment on it was clear to see that Roy’s boys were prepared to give the Italians a run for their money in the opening game of the campaign.pirlorooney

I felt optimistic about two main areas, firstly, the positivity of Hodgson’s selection and secondly the nature of the performances from the younger players in the squad such as Sterling, Barklay and Sturridge from attacking wing play to taking shots from outside of the 18 yard box, it was clear to see England’s intent from the start. England contained Italy and then hit them on the counter attack with pace and gile. The plan appeared successfully executed until the fourth quarter when it appeared the jungle conditions they were playing in were proving tiring.

Once the Italians retook the lead after 50 minutes, thanks to the talismanic figure of Mario Balotelli, they looked to be retaining possession more easily and depleting England’s defense as each minute passed. England was still able to create little openings that they attempted to exploit but came up against stern Italian defense each time. The team should be disappointed that they didn’t take more chances but we as fans should feel confident that the boys will bounce back in what has now turned out to be a huge game against Uruguay on Thursday.

Overall, members of the English football-loving masses should be pleased with the events that occurred last night in Manaus and feel positive about the remaining group games. We may even qualify for the quarter finals and get knocked out by a better team again.

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