Mario Ballotelli goal seals Italy victory

Steven Gerrard of England looks on after a 0-0 draw with England in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Steven Gerrard of England looks on after a 0-0 draw with England in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
England's Wayne Rooney (left) fights for the ball with Costa Rica's Junior Diaz during their Group D football match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte.
England's Wayne Rooney (left) fights for the ball with Costa Rica's Junior Diaz during their Group D football match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte.
Bryan Ruiz of Costa Rica holds off a challenge by England's Frank Lampard during their Group D 0-0 draw in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Bryan Ruiz of Costa Rica holds off a challenge by England's Frank Lampard during their Group D 0-0 draw in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas of Costa Rica makes a save on Daniel Sturridge of England at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas of Costa Rica makes a save on Daniel Sturridge of England at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Cristian Gamboa of Costa Rica challenges Luke Shaw of England during their World Cup Group D match at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Cristian Gamboa of Costa Rica challenges Luke Shaw of England during their World Cup Group D match at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas blocks the shot of England's Daniel Sturridge.
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas blocks the shot of England's Daniel Sturridge.
Uruguay players celebrate, while Italy players react, after their World Cup Group D football match at the Dunas arena in Natal.
Uruguay players celebrate, while Italy players react, after their World Cup Group D football match at the Dunas arena in Natal.
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder after claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez.
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder after claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez.
Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Giorgio Chiellini of Italy react after a clash at Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil. Chiellini accused Suarez of biting him.
Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Giorgio Chiellini of Italy react after a clash at Estadio das Dunas in Natal, Brazil. Chiellini accused Suarez of biting him.
Uruguay's Diego Godin celebrates with team mate Christian Stuani (rear) after scoring a goal against Italy at the Dunas arena in Natal.
Uruguay's Diego Godin celebrates with team mate Christian Stuani (rear) after scoring a goal against Italy at the Dunas arena in Natal.
Giorgio Chiellini of Italy challenges Maximilliano Pereira of Uruguay during their Group D match.
Giorgio Chiellini of Italy challenges Maximilliano Pereira of Uruguay during their Group D match.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez fights for the ball with Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon during their World Cup Group D football match at the Dunas arena in Natal.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez fights for the ball with Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon during their World Cup Group D football match at the Dunas arena in Natal.
Captain Diego Godin (left) celebrates his match-winning header in Uruguay's 1-0 victory over Italy.
Captain Diego Godin (left) celebrates his match-winning header in Uruguay's 1-0 victory over Italy.
Giancarlo Gonzalez and Costa Rican team-mates celebrate their progression through to the second stage.
Giancarlo Gonzalez and Costa Rican team-mates celebrate their progression through to the second stage.
Yeltsin Tejeda (left) and Patrick Pemberton revel in Costa Rica's 1-0 win over Italy.
Yeltsin Tejeda (left) and Patrick Pemberton revel in Costa Rica's 1-0 win over Italy.
Bryan Ruiz celebrates with a Costa Rican substitute after his goal against Italy.
Bryan Ruiz celebrates with a Costa Rican substitute after his goal against Italy.
Bryan Ruiz celebrates his first-half goal that decided Costa Rica's 1-0 victory over Italy.
Bryan Ruiz celebrates his first-half goal that decided Costa Rica's 1-0 victory over Italy.
Italy's Mario Balotelli takes a shot at goal under Costa Rican pressure.
Italy's Mario Balotelli takes a shot at goal under Costa Rican pressure.
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas punts the ball upfield.
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas punts the ball upfield.
Italy's Claudio Marchisio checks on a prone Junior Diaz of Costa Rica.
Italy's Claudio Marchisio checks on a prone Junior Diaz of Costa Rica.
Italy's Ignazio Abate and Costa Rica's Christian Bolanos battle to control the ball.
Italy's Ignazio Abate and Costa Rica's Christian Bolanos battle to control the ball.
Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Group D match between Uruguay and England.
Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Group D match between Uruguay and England.
An England fan looks dejected after the team's 2-1 defeat to Uruguay.
An England fan looks dejected after the team's 2-1 defeat to Uruguay.
Uruguay fans celebrate with a poster of Luis Suarez after the Group D match between Uruguay and England.
Uruguay fans celebrate with a poster of Luis Suarez after the Group D match between Uruguay and England.
England's Wayne Rooney scores his team's first goal past Uruguay's goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
England's Wayne Rooney scores his team's first goal past Uruguay's goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
Luis Suarez of Uruguay shoots and scores his team's second goal during the Group D match between Uruguay and England.
Luis Suarez of Uruguay shoots and scores his team's second goal during the Group D match between Uruguay and England.
England's Wayne Rooney heads the ball into the crossbar.
England's Wayne Rooney heads the ball into the crossbar.
England's Danny Welbeck fights for the ball with Uruguay's Egidio Arevalo Rios and Uruguay's Edinson Cavani.
England's Danny Welbeck fights for the ball with Uruguay's Egidio Arevalo Rios and Uruguay's Edinson Cavani.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring a goal past England's Joe Hart.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring a goal past England's Joe Hart.
England's Wayne Rooney and Italy's Giorgio Chiellini fight for the ball.
England's Wayne Rooney and Italy's Giorgio Chiellini fight for the ball.
Italy's Claudio Marchisio scores past England's goalkeeper Joe Hart during their Group D soccer match.
Italy's Claudio Marchisio scores past England's goalkeeper Joe Hart during their Group D soccer match.
England trainer Gary Lewin is stretchered off the field after a leg injury during the Group D match between England and Italy.
England trainer Gary Lewin is stretchered off the field after a leg injury during the Group D match between England and Italy.
Daniel Sturridge of England shoots and scores his team's first goal past Salvatore Sirigu of Italy.
Daniel Sturridge of England shoots and scores his team's first goal past Salvatore Sirigu of Italy.
Mario Balotelli of Italy scores his team's second goal on a header past Gary Cahill and goalkeeper Joe Hart of England during the Group D match.
Mario Balotelli of Italy scores his team's second goal on a header past Gary Cahill and goalkeeper Joe Hart of England during the Group D match.
Costa Rica's Marco Urena shoots to score past Uruguay's Fernando Muslera during their Group D match.
Costa Rica's Marco Urena shoots to score past Uruguay's Fernando Muslera during their Group D match.
A general view of the arena during theGroup D match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at Castelao.
A general view of the arena during theGroup D match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at Castelao.
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell is fouled by Uruguay's Maximiliano Pereira, who was issued a red card for the foul.
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell is fouled by Uruguay's Maximiliano Pereira, who was issued a red card for the foul.
A fan of Costa Rica celebrates their win over Uruguay.
A fan of Costa Rica celebrates their win over Uruguay.
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell scores a goal during his sides Group D soccer match against Uruguay.
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell scores a goal during his sides Group D soccer match against Uruguay.
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Uruguay during their Group D match.
Costa Rica's Joel Campbell celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Uruguay during their Group D match.

Italy striker Mario Balotelli powered home a close range header to secure a 2-1 win over England today in an entertaining World Cup Group D game played amid baking heat and humidity.

Balotelli peeled away from left back Leighton Baines to meet Antonio Candreva's cross from the right to head home in the 50th minute.

Claudio Marchisio had fired Italy ahead after 35 minutes in the jungle atmosphere of Manaus, where the temperature was 30 celsiusat kick-off, but Daniel Sturridge quickly levelled.

England, full of attacking intent, pushed for an equaliser after the break but could not find a way past back-up keeper Salvatore Sirigu, deputising for the injured Gianluigi Buffon.

Andrea Pirlo almost made it 3-1 in second half injury time but his swirling 30-metre free kick crashed against the bar.

With Costa Rica beating Uruguay 3-1 in the earlier game in the group, England captain Steven Gerrard said his side must win their clash with the beaten South Americans on Thursday.

''No matter what the result were tonight we'd need to beat Uruguay on Thursday. It's certainly doable,'' he told the BBC.

''It was a tough night. It was warm, sticky - it was a tough pitch - it was dry. But they're excuses. Italy were very good.

''They caused us a lot of problems down our left-hand side in the first half but we made tweaks at half-time and dealt with it better. We played most of the second half in their half.''

Manager Roy Hodgson added: ''The players gave everything they could possibly give. We now have to lift our heads and prepare for the next game.''

Both sides looked dangerous from the first whistle but it was Italy who took the lead after a cleverly worked short corner.

When the ball was played into Pirlo the veteran midfielder let it run under his boot and Marchisio had time to hammer home a 25-metre right foot shot.

England recovered quickly and two minutes later a lovely pass from 19-year-old Raheem Sterling sent Wayne Rooney haring down the left and his curling cross was met by a sweet half-volley from Sturridge.

Italy though came close to scoring again in first half injury time. First, Balotelli chipped the ball over goalkeeper Joe Hart only for Phil Jagielka to head it off the line.

Seconds later a clever pass found Candreva alone in the area but he crashed his shot against Joe Hart's right post.

Sirigu was in good form in the second half, palming away fierce shots from Danny Welbeck and Ross Barkley as well as a free kick from Baines.

 

 

 

Reuters