Sunday June 15 2014
Azzurri ratings: England 1-2 Italy

Italy opened their 2014 World Cup campaign with an entertaining 2-1 win over England. Sam Lewis runs through those who impressed.

Salvatore Sirigu: 8

Faced enormous pressure replacing Gianluigi Buffon and couldn't do a lot about Daniel Sturridge's equaliser. Responsible for several impressive saves.

Matteo Darmian: 7

Was solid, industrious and played with a maturity that belied his years against a talented English front-line. A positive start for the Torino defender.

Andrea Barzagli: 7

Looked panicked at times but was responsible for a goal-saving tackle in the first half. Was Italy's best central defender.

Gabriel Paletta: 6

Looked uncomfortable under considerable England pressure and was often rescued by his counterparts. Gave the ball away in the first half that nearly led to a goal.

Giorgio Chiellini: 5.5

Left huge space behind in him the first half as the Juventus man was often too cavalier going forward. Was lucky at times as the veteran made some poor decisions. 

Daniele De Rossi: 6

Was a solid tackler and passer while England dominated possession in the second half, had a largely quiet but effective 90 minutes.

Andrea Pirlo: 7.5

Was typically creative and efficient. Responsible for an excellent Marchisio goal thanks to the midfielder's sublime dummy and nearly scored with a terrific free-kick.

Marco Verratti: 6.5

Was inventive at times in the first half, combining well with Pirlo and Candreva but a quiet second half saw him replaced by Thiago Motta.

Claudio Marchisio: 7

Was largely anonymous in the second half but was responsible for Italy's opening goal with a low, driving strike. An important part of the victory.

Antonio Candreva: 7

Was Italy's brightest player with a few testing shots for Joe Hart in the England goal. Supplied an excellent cross for Balotelli's goal.

Mario Balotelli: 7

Gave Italy the lead after 50 minutes with an imperious header following Antonio Candreva's pinpoint cross. Was occasionally isolated but remained a reference point.


Thiago Motta: 6

Replaced Marco Verratti on 57 minutes. Was a calming defensive presence as Italy held onto their lead. 

Ciro Immobile: 6

Replaced Mario Balotelli on 73 minutes. Was a goal-saving Gary Cahill tackle away from scoring the Azzurri's third goal. Was rather lonely in the final minutes.

Marco Parolo: No rating

Replaced Antonio Candreva on 78 minutes. Was largely a defensive player as England dominated possession. A quiet game for the Parma man.

Coach: Cesare Prandelli: 7

Wasn't as aggressive as many Italy fans hoped with defensive substitutions after Balotelli gave his side the lead, but set the team up exceptionally.

Words: Sam Lewis

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