Wayne Rooney’s nightshift by the globe’s grandest jungle comprised the exemplary and the uncharacteristic.
The England No10 provided a gorgeous cross for Daniel Sturridge to equalise. Then, after Leighton Baines had cannily unravelled the Italy backline, the 28-year-old forward dragged a great chance wide en route to a 2-1 defeat in their Group D curtain-raiser at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
Afterwards, FIFA caught up with Rooney to discuss his assist, that missed opportunity, the performance of 19-year-old Raheem Sterling, whether England deserved better and the mood in their dressing room.
FIFA: Wayne, did you deserve better?
I don't think we deserved to lose the game. I thought we played some good stuff, created a few chances, so I think we were quite unfortunate. But that's football, that's how it goes.
After Italy scored their second goal, England had a very good spell.
Yeah, we did. I thought we did some really good things in the game, but we just couldn't get in front. And I think if we had gone in front we would've been OK. But I think they showed their class when they went in front. They made it really difficult for us, and that's why we didn't manage to get a goal back.
Roy Hodgson was bold with his team selection, including young Raheem Sterling. How did you think Sterling did?
I think we all did well as a team. As I've said before, it's about the team, it's not about any individuals, and the lads who've come in tonight did well. They certainly gave the manager some options for the next game.
England’s goal was a really good one.
Yeah, it was a good goal. It was at a really good time for us, we knew we had to get back into the game quickly, and we managed to do that. And it was a great finish by Daniel.
You provided a superb pass for that goal. Are you pleased with that?
No. We lost the game, so all I feel is disappointed. But it was good for Daniel to score.
You had a great chance to score in the second-half.
That’s how it goes. I’m not worried about that. We’ll move on to the next game.
What did you learn tonight about England's chances at the World Cup?
I've learned that we have to win the next game. Tonight was a disappointment, a setback, but we have to move on. We have a tough game now against Uruguay, and we have to go and try and get three points.
How would you sum up the feeling in the dressing room? Is it going to be tough to lift yourselves over the next few days?
No, we'll lift ourselves. We know we've got a good team. Of course we're disappointed we lost the game, but we'll move on. We'll prepare now for Uruguay, and we'll take the manager's ideas into that game and hopefully we can get the win.
Interview: FIFA dot com