Roman nose win

I wasn't sure what to expect from England and Italy, in their game Saturday, except that it would be tightly contested.

And it was, with Italy mostly controlling possession, but England still getting plenty (maybe even more than Italy) of chances.

One thing that was weird was that both teams were taking an awful lot of long-range (outside the box) shots, and were mostly not putting them on net.  I think it'd've been a better game if both teams had laid off of those shots a bit, although it's true that Italy scored first on one of them.  It somehow threaded through four (!) defenders and the goalkeeper and found the back of the net; lot of luck there.

It took only two minutes for England to strike back, though.  Sterling shot a perfect pass a lot way down the left side to Rooney, who centered it from a long ways out (a yard or two from the touch line), right onto Sturridge.  From a couple feet out, Sturridge put it in to knot the score.

Italy almost took a second lead in stoppage time of the first, when the Hart came out into no-man's-land, and Balotelli chipped it over him.  One of the defenders was able to head it away, but it was a very close call.

Five minutes into the second, Balotelli did manage to give Italy the lead again.  One of the other strikers brought the ball down the right side, and Mario drifted back to the left.  The other striker centered it, and hit him near the far post.  Really terrible defending by England, especially against one of the top strikers in the world (I still think he hasn't played up to his talent.  He's apparently gotten engaged, recently; maybe that will help).  They needed to do better than that.

After that, Italy was mostly content to pack it into the box (plus they subbed Balotelli out, though whether to rest or for fear of his temper, I don't know), and dare England to break them down.  The Brits tried gamely, but were unable to do so.  They got a couple of chances, but no great ones, and none that they were able to convert.

It wasn't a terribly exciting game; I guess the pace was fairly slow.

Sterling looked very good for England; Sturridge did as well.  Rooney looked a bit off; his passes were not as good as usual (he also managed to not put a corner kick onto the field, at one point).

On the flip side, Mario was the only one who really caught my attention, although Pirlo did have one really good free kick attempt.  It missed the net, but not by much.

This will be an interesting group to watch; with Costa Rica managing a win, it's going to be tough on both England and Uruguay (possibly Italy, too, especially if they lose to Uruguay).

No comments:

Post a Comment