Italy's Mario Balotelli, left, gets in a shot as England's Phil Jagielka, center, and Jordan Henderson, right, defend. Italy topped England 2-1 in Group D of the World Cup. ASSOCIATED PRESS
MANAUS, Brazil — Mario Balotelli scored with a second-half header today to give Italy a 2-1 win over England at the World Cup.
The Italy striker was left unmarked by Gary Cahill and nodded a cross from Antonio Candreva past goalkeeper Joe Hart in the 50th minute.
Claudio Marchisio opened the scoring for Italy, sending a long shot through a crowded area and past a diving Hart in the 35th. Daniel Sturridge equalized for England two minutes later, tapping in a cross from Wayne Rooney.
The win puts Italy in a strong position to qualify for the second round, and leaves England with plenty to do in its remaining two matches.
In the other Group D match, Costa Rica beat Uruguay 3-1, leaving the 2010 semifinalists with a similarly difficult task to advance.