England edge past Italy

Italy got the better of England, while Costa Rica stunned Uruguay and Colombia coasted to victory against Greece on Saturday.

Mario Balotelli's second-half goal secured a 2-1 win for Italy in their 2014 World Cup opener against England in Manaus.

During a bright start Raheem Sterling saw a long-range shot ripple the side-netting before Jordan Henderson's effort stung the palms of goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, who deputised for the injured Gianluigi Buffon.

England went close again in the first half when Danny Welbeck's burst of pace allowed him to square only for Gabriel Paletta to slide and deflect the ball just wide of his own goal.

But it was Italy who broke the deadlock. A superb dummy by Andrea Pirlo following a corner allowed Marchisio to arrow into the bottom corner from outside the box. Daniel Sturridge swiftly restored parity, only for Balotelli to head in the decisive goal five minutes after the restart.

Despite Sirigu being called into action on a number of occasions and Rooney spurning a golden chance, Italy held on for three points.

Uruguay's all-time leading goalscorer Luis Suarez could only sit and watch from the sidelines as a superb Costa Rica produced a shock 3-1 victory in Fortaleza.

On this evidence his return from injury cannot come too soon for his country as although fellow striker Edinson Cavani opened his World Cup account with a 24th-minute penalty he lacked the penetration and drive Suarez brings to the team.

With Uruguay missing that spark and failing to capitalise on their lead Costa Rica seized their chance with two goals in three minutes early in the second half to blow Group D wide open after just one game.

Joel Campbell levelled before Oscar Duarte grabbed his first international goal to turn the tables as Suarez remained rooted to the bench.

Campbell then applied the coup de grace six minutes from time with a slide-rule pass which substitute Marcos Urena tucked past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera from a narrow angle with virtually his first touch.

Colombia had no such problems with the absence of talismanic striker Radamel Falcao as they eased to a 3-0 win in their Group C clash against Greece in Belo Horizonte.

Pablo Armero gave the South Americans a dream start with a deflected opener after just five minutes and Teofilo Gutierrez -- leading the line in Falcao's absence -- struck a close-range second on 58 minutes.

The Colombians wrapped up an impressive performance when James Rodriguez bagged their third in injury time.

Wilfried Bony and Gervinho scored within two minutes of each other as Ivory Coast rallied in the second half to beat Japan 2-1.

Keisuke Honda gave the Blue Samurai a lead after 15 minutes, but the Africans took control in the second half.

The Ivory Coast attack came to life shortly after Didier Drogba was introduced with an hour gone.

First, Bony redirected a driven cross from the right side the far post, and 100 seconds later Gervinho headed past Eiji Kawashima at the near post.

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