This match started off solid. Back and forth between both teams. A couple of quick chances that did not garner any goals. It was a normal start. Working out the kinks in the first game.
In the 34th minute Italy’s Marchisio put a screamer into the net from the top of the goal box. He was wide open. And the strike took every quad muscle he has.
England answered 3 minutes later. Daniel Sturridge put in a break away. Got service from Wayne Rooney. Stuffing the ball into the back of the net. Evening things up in the 37th minute.
Italy turned up the heat as it got closer to halftime. Mario Balotelli tried to chip past his former Manchester City goalie Joe Hart. But he was foiled by Phil Jagielka.
But after halftime, in the 49th minute Antonio Candreva found Mario Balotelli. Balotelli made sure the ball found the back of the net. It was a nice little header for Azzurri’s second.
Pirlo almost showed some Captain magic in the 93rd minute. The curving free kick he took should have been another goal. It sliced through the air in a way that about 99% of the world could never make happen.
England pressured plenty on offense. Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley took their shots in the second. Either off the mark or blocked respectively. There were plenty of chances. But just not enough. And Joe Hart may not be the answer in goal.
In contrast, the commentators were concerned that Gianluigi Buffon was not going to be in goal for Italy. He has captained the team and is one of the best. But so is his replacement Salvatore Sirigu who did a good job keeping England’s attempts under control. If Buffon’s injury is more serious as a result of his advanced age; they do have a good man in goal. And they have a good Captain in Pirlo.