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England vs. Italy - 11pm tonight - BBC One

Magic

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So! England's first game of the 2014 World Cup is tonight, and it doesn't get an awful lot bigger than the 2006 World Champions.

Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon is a major doubt with an ankle injury, but their spare keeper, Salvatore Sirigu, is no mug so I don't think it'll affect them too badly. Unfortunately for England, Danny Welbeck looks to have made a full recovery from his own ankle injury.

So, thoughts? Predictions? Who would you start if you were Roy Hodgson? Who would you have left in London?

The only difficult question I'm pondering right now is how much to bet on Italy. Don't fancy England at all, but they might get a goal so I think Italy to win but both teams to score might be the best bet at around 5/1.

Failing that, 2-1 either way wouldn't overly shock me.

Anybody got any plans for the game tonight? I'll be ordering a takeaway munchie box around 10 pm!
 

John Hancock

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My brain hasn't recovered from yesterday enough to take this seriously. I'll be watching though, all be it passively.
 

King

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Probably a draw, a boring one at that.
 

bigmatt

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I wouldn't have started Sterling. I'd have preferred either Ox or Barkley.

EDIT: Inevitably, he nearly scored a stunner 30 seconds after posting that.
 

Magic

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Blows my mind that Welbeck gets a start.
 

Magic

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Who's the colour commentator? I've seen more enthusiasm at a wake.
 

dsrchris

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Sh*t just got real.

Even the physio got taken out.

EDIT: I'm pretty sure Sturridge just gave a shout out to Jesus during the goal celebration.

And the physio's been carried off on a stretcher.
 
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The Fury

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The England physio has a suspected broken ankle.

2 good goals so far in this game
 

Magic

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Did the physio honestly just get stretchered off? I haven't fallen asleep in a takeaway enduced coma and had a mental dream? Gary Lewin, England physio, has required urgent attention from the erm... physio. Amazing.

Really good goals by both sides. Happy for Sturridge, always been a fan, still fancy Italy though.
 

Magic

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Superb goal by Super Mario. Great cross, great header.
 

The Fury

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Tell you what, if Costa Rica play as good as they did today, they are going to give both Italy and England a lot of problems.

England shouldn't be too hard done by with themselves. It wasn't a bad performance. But set pieces and finishing was very poor tonight. Balotelli showed tonight how finishing is done.

England should beat Uruguay if they show up like they did against Costa Rica. Italy won't underestimate them and will go to play smart footy to seal the win.

Also how frigging awesome was pirlos free kick!
 

Boyo

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I know it was ultimately a defeat but England can take more positives from this than negatives. All three goals were excellent, and some of the individual performances were very good indeed.

Overall: good, promising, pleasing. Except for the result :p

Cheers!
 

Jayfunk

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I would say it was always going to be Italy first England in second in the group England was never going to win the group but it doesn't matter it's a second round fixture
 

Evil Gringo

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For all the people annoyed that Welbeck got a start, the lad did what he was supposed to do which is harass the living daylights out of the Italians when they had the ball and push them back on the left hand side. After a bit of a quiet start he did just that and played some nice little bits of football with Sterling and Sturridge.

The problem was our left hand side, Italy's right and the problem was Rooney. He was given a job to do, a job he had done 1000's of times in a United shirt which was play on the left hand side and he failed to do it bar one cross. He had issues tracking back because he was always tucking inside into a central role and was getting caught out of position and when he did track back Candreva the Lazio player made him his b**ch as Rooney tired in the heat and humidity.

The answer to this is simple, Rooney needs to be played as a striker or not at all. When he was younger, fitter, less stubborn and had less of an ego then you could put him anywhere in the team and he'd do a job no problem but as United fans will tell you, in recent years he has an idea were he should be playing and if he's not in that position that you are not going to get that same lung busting effort that earmarked his performances from 2007-2011.

Lallana needs to come in for the next game on the left where he plays well for Southampton and proven he can go forward, link the play and still protect his full back, Sterling for me keeps his place, Sturridge moves to the right to cut in on his left foot and Rooney plays up top.
 

King

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I'd drop Rooney, he looked tired, unfit, and there is players in that England team now who don't look out of place if he was dropped.

Rooney world class??, not anymore for me!!
 

Boyo

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I pretty much agree with King. Lallana, Studge, Sterling and Welbz start for me next time. Defensively Lallana left and Welbeck right, but offensively they can do what they want.

I would also say that Rooney is capable of world class, however he's not a truly world class player anymore. He's capable of moments of brilliance, but that's in between the game generally passing him by. Sterling, for example, was miles ahead of him.

Cheers!
 
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