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Balotelli goal gives Italy 2-1 win over England

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June 14, 2014: Italy's Mario Balotelli (9) heads the ball past England's Gary Cahill (5) and goalkeeper Joe Hart, left, to score Italy's second goal during the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil. (AP)

Mario Balotelli scored with a second-half header Saturday 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.