World Cup 2014 Video: Attack-minded England take positives from Italian defeat

Video: The Evening Standard's James Olley says that an exciting England team can go into their next two games with a belief they can still make it past the group stage

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The Independent Football

It may not have been the result they would have wanted to start their campaign, but there was an almost unanimous sense of optimism from both the England camp and their supporters that the performance against the Italians was one of undoubted promise.

While Mario Balotelli's winner on 50 minutes showed defensive frailties, England's attacking threat fuelled a belief that they can dominate their next opponents, Uruguay and Costa Rica, and still make it through to the last 16.

England boss Roy Hodgson handed the young Raheem Sterling a starting role in the No 10 position ahead of Wayne Rooney and the Liverpool man dazzled the opposition with his pace and an eagerness to charge towards goal.

Going forward, England were fast – showing much more pace than the Italians – and exciting. Italy had no answer to it and relied on keeping the ball and trying to keep England in their own half.

Speaking after the game, Hodgson said: "It was undoubtedly the best I have seen us play, as a team, in my time with them.

"It's tough to accept we lost. But I've got great confidence we can do well enough in the next games to qualify."

England play Uruguay on Thursday before facing Costa Rica on Tuesday, 24 June.