I thought Italy ‘s win was merited. Roy Hodgson is a highly respected coach here after two terms at Inter Milan and one at Udinese. His philosophy is old-fashioned catanaccio, the rigid defensive style perfected by both Milan clubs in the 60s, so I was surprised by the adventurous, pacy side he picked. Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge caused us real problems with their pace and direct running.
I was disappointed by the performance of both Wayne Rooney and Steve Gerrard. Candreva and Damian were able to exploit the left side of England where frequently Leighton Baines was only one against Candreva and Damian. Where was Rooney? There are some talented players – Roberto Baggio was one- with no obvious position but who want the coach to build the team around them. Rooney is in this category, but on the world stage he has yet to score a goal or impress. Gerrard failed to influence play in the style of the orchestrator Pirlo.
For the Azzurri. the new boys Sirrigu and Damian did well . Sirrigu’s handling of crosses and shot stopping was excellent with no sign of nerves .
Many predicted a dour 0-0 draw but it was one of the most entertaining games so far as it was so competitive. I can see both countries qualifying as Uruguay looked poor against Costa Rica whilst I doubt if the Central Americans will emulate that performance against Italy or England
None of our Fiorentina boys got on the pitch but I was impressed by Juan Caudrado for Columbia. Much was made of James Rodriguez but Ligue 1 is not the Serie a and at Monaco he only has to fear PSG. Caudrado scored 13 goals against some of the most well-organised defences in Europe and his dribbling skills are a delight to watch.