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World Cup Match Report: Super Mario Balotelli scores the winner as Italy beat England 2-1

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Italy's Mario Balotelli (9) celebrates after getting the ball past England's goalkeeper Joe Hart, left, and Gary Cahill, center, to score his side's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014

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(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Instant Analysis

Italy beat England 2-1 in a match that lived up to every bit of the hype it had coming in. The heat and humidity in Manaus had the players looking like human sprinklers and cramping up left and right, but instead of sitting back and letting it drag to a scoreless draw, both sides fought hard for the win. Italy's Claudio Marchisio opened in the scoring in the 35th minute, but Daniel Sturridge equalized just two minutes later off a perfect cross from Wayne Rooney. But it was Mario Balotelli's 50th minute header that proved to be the difference, as England just couldn't find another goal and paid for their defensive errors. Italy were deserving winners, but England can't be counted out.

Man of the Match

Mario Balotelli, Italy — He scored his first World Cup goal to win his first World Cup match. He said England wouldn't be a problem for Italy before it started and he made sure that was the case.

Buzzy Moment

Either England's physio dislocating his ankle while celebrating their goal or Wayne Rooney's horrible corner kick. Take your pick.

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You can't hide from Mario, Roy.

You can't hide from Mario, Roy.

England manager Roy Hodgson reacts to his side's near misses.

What's Next

England will face Uruguay next with both sides looking for their first points, as Italy take on unexpected group leaders Costa Rica. Because of Uruguay's loss, this group is wide open, but the next round could decide it.

For complete World Cup 2014 coverage visit Yahoo Sports and follow @YahooSoccer

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Brooks Peck is the editor of Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow on Twitter!

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