England can still reach knockout stage, Hodgson insists

Roy Hodgson has stressed that he is confident that England can still qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup despite seeing his side lose to Italy in their opening match, BBC Sport has reported.

Despite Daniel Sturridge netting a superb goal on the counter-attack, and England turning in an impressive and enterprising performance, Italy won in Manaus thanks to goals from Claudio Marchisio and Mario Balotelli.

The result now means that England are likely to have to beat Uruguay in Sao Paulo on Thursday to keep their hopes alive, with the South Americans also set to be playing for their World Cup futures after losing in abject fashion to a Joel Campbell inspired Costa Rica.

After the game at the Arena Amazonia, Hodgson was hugely encouraged by the performance of his young team. He 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.”

“Of course we can still qualify. We’re a bit downhearted at the moment, a bit sad that the game didn’t go our way – we were hoping for a perfect start but we don’t live in a perfect world. In the second half, we did everything but score. We know we played against a good team and to take them so close gives us great confidence that we can do well against Uruguay and Costa Rica and still progress in the tournament.”

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