The World Cup's first rumble in the Amazon did not disappoint.
Italy edged England 2-1 in a tense Group D clash at Arena Amazonia in Manaus on Saturday that saw the teams trade goals in a frenetic three-minute span in the first half. With the former World Cup champions deadlocked 1-1 into the second half, Italy striker Mario Balotelli delivered the knockout blow to England.
"We won, but now let's keep our feet on the ground, otherwise we're not going anywhere," Balotelli said, sounding wise beyond his 23 years, after match, via The Associated Press.
Before the match, the absence of Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made headlines. Once it started, another Italian footballing legend stepped up, by stepping over the ball. With the match scoreless, 35-year-old Italy midfielder set up the opening goal of the contest with a mesmerizing feint in the 35th minute.
Just minutes later, England answered with an equalizer on the counterattack. England striker Daniel Sturridge blasted a right-footed shot past Salvatore Sirigu, who got the start for Italy in place of the injured Buffon, after running onto a cross from Wayne Rooney.
After Balotelli reinstated Italy's advantage, England could not find itself another game-tying goal.