OK, that’s all from me.They’ll be picking over the bones of this one for a long time to come. We’ll have a report and various comment pieces from Manaus and our Football Weekly podcast – which I must dash off to record- up on the website in the coming minutes and hours. Read, digest and then complain bitterly. Thanks for your time and your emails, enjoy what’s left of the weekend.
How the Group stands: With Costa Rica having beaten Uruguay earlier and England losing here, this places huge significance on England’s next match with Uruguay. They’ve lost this game, but there’s a long way to go. They’re far from out of this tournament. They can take a lot of positives from this match, not least the performance of Raheem Sterling, who was excellent, but the same old failings were on show: Wayne Rooney failed to score again despite having chances, they were weak at set-pieces (admittedly, his assist for the goal was excellent) and there were a lot of very sloppy errors.
Steven Gerrard speaks: “Italy are a good team, but we knew how they were going to play. We got criticised two years back for being toothless and sitting back so we went at them tonight and are disappointed to have come away with nothing. The effort, the desire and the commitment was there, but we were lacking in quality in the final third.”
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeep! It’s all over and Italy take the three points courtesy of a 2-1 win. Claudio Marchisio put them a goal up in the first half, only for Daniel Sturridge to equalise a minute later. Mario Balotelli won it for Italy with a header in the 50th minute, getting on the end of a wonderful cross from man of the match Antonio Candreva, who was a constant thorn in England’s side.
90+4 min: Great covering tackle from Gary Cahill, who somehow musters enough energy to keep up with Immobile the substitute and slide in and hook away the ball as the Italian slalomed through the centre and looked set fair to put Italy 3-1 up.
90+3 min: Italy win a free-kick about 30 yards from England’s goal, with Thiago Motta going down under a challenge from Cahill. Not for the first time in his career, Andrea Pirlo makes a fool of Joe Hart, sending him the wrong way with a free kick that rattles the cross-bar. How on earth did he do that?
90+2 min: Raheem Sterling takes one for the team, picking up a booking for a professional foul as Italy broke on a counter-attack.
90+1min: Raheem Sterling sends a cross into the Italy penalty area from the right, but puts a bit too much welly on it and it flies over most heads. Leighton Baines tries to keep the ball in play, but Claudio Marchisio hooks it out for a throw-in.
90 min: The board goes up – there’ll be five minutes or more of added tiome. I’m not quite sure where they came from, but England will be glad of every second.
89 min: Sterling skips away from Pirlo and tries a shot from a long way out. High and wide.
88 min: England win a corner, but nothing comes of it. They continue to lay siege to the Italy goal.
86 min: Running across the face of the Italy goal, Ross Barkley gives the ball to Rooney and runs on to pick up the return pass. It doesn’t come; Rooney shoots high and wide over the bar, prompting Barkley to give him a dirty look.
85 min: If you’re going to insist on taking a free-kick with five minutes to go, you really ought to score it. Gerrard doesn’t, shooting around the ball and over the bar.
84 min: Adam Lallana wins a free-kick for England after getting brought down by Daniele De Rossi. Free-kick for England, a yard or two outside the penalty area, well left of centre.Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney both fancy this, but the skipper from Liverpool wins the argument.
80 min: Sirigu waves a gloved hand by way of apology after kicking the ball out of play, deep inside his own half.England win consecutive throw-ins deep in the Italy half, but nothing comes of either and Italy clear.
78 min: Great news for England, as Italy bring off their stand-out player of the evening. Italy substitution: Antonio Candreva off, Marco Parolo on. England substitution: Daniel Sturridge limps off, Adam Lallana on.
77 min: Wayne Rooney takes the corner, putting the ball straight out of play. He’s not had a night to remember thus far. His cross for England’s equaliser was a beauty, but apart from that he’s done little or nothing.
76 min: A decent effort from Baines, who clears the wall and gets his effort on target, only for Sirigu to dive to his left and put the ball out for a corner.
75 min: England work the ball from side to side patiently, the ball’s slipped to Raheem Sterling and Giorgio Chiellini rushes in to clatter him from behind. Free-kick for England, just outside the area on the right side of the pitch. This is perfect for Leighton Baines.
75 min: England advance into Italy territory, with instructions coming from the bench urging them to do so at greater speed.
73 min: England substitution: Jordan Henderson off, Jack Wilshire on. Italy substitution: Mario Balotelli off, Ciro Immobile on.
71 min: England work this one short and the ball is played to Glen Johnson on the edge of the area. He shoots low, hard and wide.
70 min: Not for the first time in recent minutes, Raheem Sterling turns Girogio Chiellini inside-out.England win a corner, which Leighton Baines sends in from the right. Gary Cahill leaps after making a great run towards the near post and England win another corner.
68 min: Italy’s stand-out performer, Candreva, puts the hurt on England again. He picks up the ball on the right, cuts inside and shoots diagonally from about 25 yards. Wide.
67 min: Sterling goes down suffering from cramp, affording assorted players from both teams to have a drink.
67 min: Ross Barkley’s looked lively since coming on. He was instrumental in that counter-attack and is constantly looking for the ball.
65 min: It’s proverbial end-to-end stuff, as Italy go close at one endwith a game of penalty box pin-ball, before England gallop the length of the pitch on the counter. God bless their energy. There’ll be more goals in this game.
63 min: Wayne Rooney looks to have equalised for England, but his low drive from the left side of the Italy penalty area is rifled inches the wrong side of the left upright.
62 min: England substitution: Danny Welbeck off after running his little white socks off. He’s played very well this evening. Ross Barkley takes to the field.
59 min: This is getting ridiculous from an England point of view. Antonio Candreva gallops down the right flank again and whips a cross to the near post, where Mario Balotelli looks set fair to sweep it home. Joe Hart dashes off his line to avert the danger.
57 min: Italy substitution: Thiago Motta on, Marco Verratti off.
56 min: Rooney goes down in the box and a shout goes up for a penalty under a challenge from “Paletta”. None is forthcoming – correct decision.
54 min: APologies for the pause in transmisssion – I’ve had a computer crash. England have responded well to that setback, but will be kicking themselves that they let Italy make hay down the right flank again, where Candreva had all the time in the world to curl an inch-perfect cross to the far post, where Mario Balotelli had a free header.
GOAL! England 1-2 Italy (Balotelli 50)
50 min: Mario Balotelli heads home from a few yards out at the far post, getting on the end of a Candreva cross from the right and beating Joe Hart.
50 min: From the corner, the ball’s swung in to the mixer and Wayne Rooney ghosts to the back post, presumably because that’s the ideal vantage point from which to watch it sail over his head and out of play.
49 min: Daniel Sturridge takes the ball past Daniele De Rossi, trys a shot from distance and stings the palms of Salvatore Sirigu. England win a corner.
47 min: Offside! Mario Balotelli gets flagged as he tries to chase down a through-ball from Daniele De Rossi.
Second half is go: England kick off. They’ve plenty of positives to work on from the first half, but lot’s to sort out too. This ought to be a fascinating 45 minutes of football.
In other news: Phil Neville is the BBC’s co-commentator alongside Guy Mowbray in Manaus tonight. His every contribution sounds like it’s being read quietly, so as not to wake the children, from the manual of a Ford Focus in a studio in London. I’m not saying it’s bad, just that it’s weird.
Gary Lewin update: It’s being reported that Gary Lewin has dislocated his ankle. We wish him a speedy recovery.
The general consensus in the BBC studio seems to be that England are doing well, but have plenty of areas of concern they need to address. Foremost among them is the problem of England’s inability to defend set pieces properly and the havoc Matteo Darmian and Antonio Candreva are wreaking when Italy attack down their right hand side, where Leighton Baines is not receiving enough protection from Wayne Rooney.
Half-time: Well, that was an eventful first half. Italy went ahead courtesy of a fine Claudio Marchisio drive from distance on the back of a training ground set piece, only for England to equalise immediately courtesy of a wonderful Sterling-Rooney-Sturridge combined effort on the counter-attack. In the ensuing celebrations, England physio Gary Lewin appeared to suffer a serious ankle injury.
44+2 min: From what seemed an impossible angle on the left hand side of the England penalty area, Mario Balotelli attempts to chip Joe Hart and curl the ball home. His effort is little short of splendid – the ball was dropping under the cross-bar, only for Phil Jagielka to race back and head it clear with a fine bit of defending.
44 min: Whoosh! Italy fire high and wide from distance. Marchisio, I think, with the long-range effort there. There’ll be a minimum of two minutes of added time before the break.
42 min: Italy saunter forward again, with Pirlo picking up the ball in the centre-circle and flicking it wide to Marchisio on the left. The ball’s played in to the isolated Mario Balotelli on the edge of the penalty area with his back to goal. England clear.
39 min: This is odd … and a little worrying for England. Their physio Gary Lewin was buried under a mound of bodies in the celebrations of England’s equaliser and has been receiving medical attention. He’s just been stretchered off and is believed to have broken his ankle. You couldn’t make it up – England’s physio has been stretchered off. Physician! Heal thyself!
37 min: Yet another goal scored on the counter-attack in this World Cup. Raheem Sterling won the ball as Italy attacked, played it forward up the left flank to Rooney, who sent a wonderful cross to the far post, where Sturridge clipped it home on the half-volley from the edge of the six-yard box.
GOAL! England 1-1 Italy (Sturridge 37)
Wow, I guess they’re not in so much bother after all.
37 min: So, England go a goal down in Manaus. They’re already looking tired and getting ripped asunder when Italy attack down the right flank.
GOAL! England 0-1 Italy (Marchisio 34)
That’s been coming. From an Italian corner, the Juventus midfielder takes advantage of a wonderful Andrea Pirlo dummy to shoot low and hard through a thicket of legs and into the bottom left-hand corner. England are in trouble.
34 min: Once again, Darmian gets down the right flank and in behind the England defence. He flicks the ball in from the goal-line for Balotelli to head home, but the striker doesn’t get enough purchase on his header and skims the ball wide of the far post.
31 min: Pirlo picks out Marchisio, who lays the ball off to Barzagli. He plays the ball over the top for Balotelli to chase between Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka. The ball carries through to Joe Hart, who claims comfortably.
29 min: Almost half an hour gone and it’s nip and tuck. Italy’s two full-backs are getting forward a lot, but not getting much change out of the English defence. England have control of the flanks, but Italy are in charge elsewhere. It’s a fairly pedestrian match, but absorbing nonetheless. Without question, England have created more goalscoring chances. They’ll feel they should be ahead.
27 min: Moments before that period of England pressure, Mario Balotelli picked up the ball outside the England penalty area, where he was allowed to turn and shoot. His effort sailed over the bar.
26 min: From the ensuing corner, Rooney tries to scramble the ball home at the far post. It’s his first contribution of note since he seemed to swap Rooney and Sterling, moving the latter into his favoured position in the centre.
23 min: England go so close to opening the scoring. Danny Welbeck crosses from the right and, with Daniel Sturridge waiting to finish at the far post, the ball is cleared by a last-ditch defensive hack that puts the ball out for a corner. That could have gone anywhere.
21 min: Gerrard picks out Sterling with a wonderful pass from midfield to the Italy right-back position. He takes on and beats Darmian then drills in a low cross. Danny Welbeck stretches, but can’t make contact to poke it home.
19 min: Wayne Rooney, who is supposed to be helping out Baines in defensive duties on the left flank, is struggling to make an impact. Antonio Candreva is occupying a pocket of space in the inside right and wreaking all sorts of havoc. He unleashes a viciously swerving shot from distance which Hart can only parry, but no harm done.
18 min: Pirlo and Verratti combine in the centre-circle for Italy, before Pirlo sends De Rossi on his way with a short pass. Italy seem very content to wander about, keeping possession and advancing in their own sweet time.
17 min: England go on the back foot again as Italy knock the ball about halfway inside their own half. It’s played wide to Candreva on the left and he arrows in another cross. Once again, it’s meat and drink to Joe Hart.
15 min: England advance, with Henderson playing the ball wide to Baines on the left. The ball wends its way back to the right toucvhline, where Glen Johnson cuts in from the left touchline and tries a shot from distance. He really puts his boot through the ball, but his low drive screams wide.
14 min: England’s players are having to do a lot of chasing, hustling and harrying – one wonders how long they’ll be able to keep it up in the prevailing heat and humidity.
13 min: Antonio Candreva whips a cross in from the right flank, but it bounces on the edge of the six yard box and Joe Hart claims comfortably under little or no pressure.
11 min: A sloppy pass from Gabriel Paletta just in front of his own penalty area gifts possession to Danny Welback about 22 yards out. He tries his luck, but sends the ball fizzing a few yards wide of the left upright.
9 min: Jordan Henderson is doing a decent job of trying to close down Andrea Pirlo thus far, but Italy are enjoying the lion’s share of possession. Italy right-back Matteo Darmian is looking a real threat, making a lot of forward runs and giving Leighton Baines plenty to think about.
7 min: Daniele De Rossi picks out Claudio Marchisio with a fine pass to the edge of the penalty area and a sort of panic ensues in the England penalty area as defenders attempt to stay with runners as Italy pass around the edge of it. There’s a loud appeal for a penalty when the ball hits Glen Johnson’s arm, but no spot-kick is forthcoming. The full-back had his arm by his side and the contact was accidental.
6 min: Jordan Henderson’s just gone close, forcing Salvatore Sirigu in the Italian goal to dive low and to his left and parry the ball with a fine drive from outside the penalty area. This is a promising start from England.
4 min: Raheem Sterling shoots from distance and I thought it blasted a screamer into the top corner! He hit the side-netting, but I wasn’t the only one who thought it was in – the graphic said “Goal!” too. A fine effort.
3 min: Pirlo makes his first contribution of note, picking out Candreva with a wonderful pass from midfield. Jagielka clears.
2 min: Italy win a free-kick halfway inside their own half. Andrea Pirlo stands over it, plays it behind him to Chiellini and is immediately pounced on by Danny Welbeck.
1 min: Gary Cahill is the first Englishman to get a touch, clearing a long ball sent down towards Mario Balotelli up the left touchline.
And we’re off: Mario Balotelli gets the ball rolling for Italy.
Next up is the Italian anthem: Their players are looking equally moist, with goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu dripping with perspiration as Il Canto degli Italiani blares over the PA. It’s blue shirts, blue shorts and blue socks a-go-go for the Azzurri.
National anthems: The England players are already sweating up a storm as God Save The Queen is played. They’re wearing white shirts, white shorts and white socks. Joe Hart is a vision in yellow.
Not long now: The players are in the tunnel and Stevie Gerrard is looking pensive. Behind him, Joe Hart is masticating furiously – I said masticating – a piece of chewing gum while wiping sweat from his eyes with a towel. Out the come, with referee Bjorn Kuipers grabbing the match-ball from the Fifa plinth.
Just 15 minutes until kick-off: Rio Ferdinand is saying that the best way to deal with Mario Balotelli is to kick him and wind him up. Making him angry is the way to put him off his game.
Meet the England fan who cycled 8,000 miles across Brazil to watch the World Cup Meet him and marvel at his beard.
Meanwhile in Manaus: Gabby Logan is pitchside with a sweaty Danny Murphy, who seems to have it on good authority that Sterling will be playing in the No10 role, with Rooney on the left. He says that Rooney will need to be disciplined and not wander in to the centre of the pitch and let Italian right-back Matteo Darmian bomb on past him and get in behind the England defence.
In the BBC’s Rio studio: Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand have joined Gary Lineker for the evening’s action. They’ve just been talking about how it’s time for Wayne Rooney to step up and have a good World Cup. Now they’re talking about how good Andrea Pirlo is. Henry and Rio also sing the praises of Verratti and De Rossi.
Interesting point from Thierry Henry: “We know that Welbeck can do that [hussle and harry Pirlo], but England need him to make runs in behind the Italian defence, not just running around like a lunatic tracking Pirlo. They need Henderson and Gerard to step up and help him.”
An email from Paul Mitchell: “Only the smug English press found the Costa Rica v Uruguay result a surprise,” he writes, doing that thing where people presume that the English press have some party line that everybody toes and no two people have the same opinion. “Time for Europe’s drama queens to start giving COCACAF some respect!”
Weather report: It’s 30 degrees celsius in the Arena da Amazônia, where humidity is 58%.
ENgland v Italy – those line-ups confirmed
England: Hart, Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines, Gerrard,
Subs: Foster, Wilshere, Lampard, Smalling, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Milner, Lambert, Lallana, Barkley, Shaw, Forster.
Italy: Sirigu, Darmian, Paletta, Barzagli, Chiellini, Verratti,
Subs: Buffon, De Sciglio, Thiago Motta, Abate, Cassano, Cerci, Aquilani, Immobile, Parolo, Bonucci, Insigne, Perin.
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)
On ITV1: They’ve just finishing chatting about the Costa Rica 3-1 Uruguay and are discussing the England v Italy line-ups. Fabio Cannavaro warns that Claudio Marchisio could be a lethal weapon in the Italy armoury, saying that Glen Johnson will need to be wary of letting him get around his outside and in behind him.
A word of caution: England and Italy fans will probably be delighted that a fairly poor Uruguay side got beaten there, but rest assured that Costa Rica are no pushovers. Uruguay played very poorly and some of their defending was atrocious, but they were made to look very ordinary by some lightning fast Costa Rica forwards who’ll give both the Italian and England defences plenty to think about. Joel Campbell, who spent the season on loan at Olympiakos from Arsenal, was a revelation.
Confirmed England line-up to face Italy
England: Hart, Johnson, Jagielka, Cahill, Baines, Gerrard, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling, Rooney, Sturridge
This world Cup gets better and better. Costa Rica have just beaten Uruguay 3-1. Find out how it unfolded by reading Gregg Bakowski’s minute-by-minute report.
There’s over an hour until kick-off, so while you’re waiting you could do a lot worse than tune in to the latest World Cup Daily podcast. The episode we recorded after the match between Chile 3-1 Australia features James Richardson, James Horncastle and I, with added Barney Ronay from Manaus. I’m not sure how much of that made the edit, because he was talking to us on the phone while wedged into a taxi with some drunk, abusive, homophobic Millwall fans. Actually, it’s a bit unfair and judgmental of me to say that – they may not have been drunk.
This is the line-up everybody reckons Italy will be sending out to face England: Sirigu, Darmian, Paletta, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Rossi, Pirlo, Verratti, Marchisio, Candreva, Balotelli.
In other news: Costa Rica currently lead Uruguay 2-1, with 20 minutes to go. You can follow the action from that particular thriller with Greg Bakowski by clicking on this link. Don’t forget to come back when it’s over, mind.
Team news. The line-ups haven’t been made official yet, but according to reports coming from various English journalists in Manaus, this is exactly what they’re expecting.
England: Hart, Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines, Gerrard, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling, Rooney, Sturridge.
Italy: Sirigu, Pirlo, nine other blokes who aren’t Pirlo.
Something else you might like: Here’s a piece on Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, who Inter manager Walter Mazzarri once described as “A force of nature, from another planet, able to mark three players himself”.
Some early team news: Italy goalkeeper Gigi Buffoon has already let it be known that he’ll be missing this match with a twisted ankle and chances are he’ll be replaced by Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. Paul Doyle has written this profile of the big man.
The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman is at the World Cup, in a state of affairs that prompted much outrage Among mouth-foaming angry people who take everything far too seriously (see many of the comments below this article)
If she does nothing else over there apart from (a) annoying those people by her very presence at the tournament and (b) sending back this photograph of some England fans arriving in Manaus, her passage to the World Cup will have been money well spent.
Italy tactics corner: Here’s what Michael had to say about Italy.
“Cesare Prandelli has successfully introduced a positive style of football, but it remains to be seen precisely how he formats his starting XI.
“The defence remains formidable but, while there is a strong Juventus connection, Prandelli is more likely to deploy a back four rather than replicate Juve’s three-man defence, although both options are open. The midfield, meanwhile, is packed with creative talents, with Andrea Pirlo still the key man in his final World Cup.
“In the final third, though, Prandelli has not made up his mind. Mario Balotelli remains the obvious centre-forward but the Milan striker continues to frustrate – and it is extremely tough to predict whether he will have a partner, or whether Prandelli will play two men in deeper, supporting roles.”
England tactics corner: Prior to the tournament, Zonal Marking‘s Michael Cox wrote his idea of the various strengths and weaknesses of assorted teams at the World Cup. Here’s what he had to say about Roy’s boys.
“Roy Hodgson spent the qualification campaign blooding youngsters and experimenting with more positive formations than the rigid 4-4-2 for which he has become famed – and there is a fresh, exciting feel about the England side.
“The precise shape is still to be determined. Although Hodgson experimented with a 4-3-3 in the 1-0 friendly win over Denmark in March, in order to accommodate five Liverpool players in a system they were accustomed to at club level, a 4-2-3-1 makes more sense to get Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney in their favoured central positions.
“Only Steven Gerrard is a certain starter in central midfield, while the defence lacks a genuine world-class performer – none have starred at international level previously, though Hodgson will have them well-drilled.”
Italy’s national anthem: Many people consider this to be their favourite. Over to you, Joe “Shaddup You Face” Dolce.
“The National Anthem of Italy – Il Canto degli Italiani, which translates as The Song of the Italians – is a lively patriotic lyric, a musical mix between a church hymn and a military march,” explains Joe.
“A rousing and bloody oompah-oompah call to arms against foreign occupiers. There’s drinking blood, heartburn, Roman slaves, cohorts – Italians really are the experts at sticking it up authority. And partying afterwards. This song was sung by Garibaldi when he kicked the Bourbons out of Sicily. Some have said that it’s not that challenging musically (I personally prefer the Russian National Anthem – which is written in a minor key and sounds bitchin’ on the accordion) but Verdi himself championed this song as being of equal stature to God Save the Queen. And who’s going to argue with Verdi?”
English national anthem: Prior to the tournament, my colleague Simon Burnton enlisted 32 pop stars to review the 32 national anthems of the teams participating in this World Cup. Here’s Whigfield, of aptly named Saturday Night fame on God Save The Queen.
“Researching this, I got really curious and spent an evening listening to the various anthems of the world,” she says, having clearly taken the job very seriously. “There are some good ones in there. I like the Danish one because it’s very sweet, the Dutch one is very majestic, and Australia’s reflects the way Australians are – they’re very bright, joyful, easygoing, happy people – and Germany’s quite militaristic.
“And God Save the Queen does that too – it’s very subtle, calm and controlled, in the way people outside the UK think British people are. I wouldn’t want to put these lyrics into a pop song, but they also reflect that mannered, reserved attitude. It was written in the middle of the 18th century, and it reflects I think the era it was made. It’s how people spoke in those days.
“It’s quite a good tune to sing along to, very simple, but I’m not sure everyone connects with the words now. Watching the team as the anthem plays before a match some of the players are just mumbling along. I think that you should maybe rewrite the anthems every 50 years, because the world is moving so fast, and I think it would be interesting to hear what would be created.”
Good evening everybody. Welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of England’s eagerly-awaited World Cup opener against Italy in Manaus, a city
none of us I had never heard of before the draw for these finals.
Of course, much like every other two-bit hack with access to Wikipedia, I’ve since found out it’s very hot, humid and has a nice opera house that was funded by the spoils of the lucrative rubber industry during La Belle Époque.
Kick-off for tonight’s match is 11pm/BST, but I’ll be here for a fair old while before that bringing you team-news, build-up, videos, features, comment and everything else that’s fit to print from approximately 90 minutes before that.
The big news this evening is that it looks a certainty that Raheem Sterling will start for England. It remains unclear where exactly he’ll play. Reports suggest there’ll be no place for Adam Lallana in the starting line-up.