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'England should be happy with the performance, if not the result.' - CCFC World Cup Review

15 June 2014

Sky Blues performance analyst Paul Travis gives his verdict in the latest installment of our World Cup review for England's clash with Italy

England failed to get the win they so wanted to kick of their Brazil 2014 group campaign as Italy beat them 2-1 in Manous

As part of our daily World Cup review with the City coaching staff, Sky Blues performane analyst Paul Travis gives his verdict on the 2-1 defeat.

It was interesting to see how these sides approached the game. Spain and Brazil had been quite attack-minded in their first fixtures - Spain were undone as a result, and Brazil came close to suffering the same fate.

I thought in the opening exchanges, England had a nice balance about them. Both sides had a similar approach and neither really pressed the ball that hard - probably because of the heat - and that meant quite a few of the chances were from long range.

The whole room where I watched the game all went up when we thought Raheem Sterling had scored with his long range shot, before we saw his very cool reaction and realised it must have hit the side netting!

You learn a lot about a side in how they react when they go behind and I thought England's response was impressive and they certainly deserved the equaliser which was a well-created goal.

The winner came from very good ball to the far post, and a very good header from Mario Balotelli. It was probably fate that it would be the former Manchester City player grabbing the headlines!

There are few better sides at soaking up pressure and protecting a lead than Italy, and it was not a surprise that they held on to their lead.

It was good to see the young players having such a key role in the England team but I did think that maybe Rickie Lambert should have come on in the closing stages just to add a focal point and to shake things up.

England should be happy with the performance, if not the result.

Performance rating: Italy 7.5 England 7

Man of the Match: Andrea Pirlo - played in a more forward role than England would have expected and that was a clever move which probably caught England by surprise. Everyone knows what he can do, and he certainly was at the heart of everything Italy did.

Prospects: The Costa Rica win over Uruguay certainly made people sit up and take notice and I still think England, if they keep their nerve, have enough to go through to the knock out stages.

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