MANAUS – Deep in the heart of the Amazon rain forest, Mario Balotelli properly introduced himself to the 2014 FIFA World Cup amidst staggering heat and humidity.
With temperatures on the pitch at 88 degrees and 70 percent humidity, Balotelli’s header at the 50th minute helped lift the Azzurri past England, 2-1 in their opening match-up in Group D, and between two of the most storied soccer clubs in World Cup history.
The talented—and controversial AC Milan—striker netted his 11th goal in 17 international matches for Italy, breaking a 1-1 tie.
With the win, Italy improves to 40-5-8 when scoring first.
The Italians drew first blood on a goal from Juventus midfielder, Claudio Marchisio at the 35th minute. England would answer two minutes later on a goal by Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge, his fifth in 13 caps for England, on an assist from Wayne Rooney.
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