Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 18th 2014 Contents A77
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
RIO DE JANEIRO---Four years ago,
Raheem Sterling was watching the
World Cup eating pizza with his
friends. Now, the 19-year-old Liver-
pool winger is the pick of the skilful
newcomers giving England hope after
its opening loss to Italy.
Sterling has transferred his talents
seamlessly from the Premier League to
the international arena. Deployed as
the playmaker by Roy Hodgson, Sterling
took on established opponents without
fear, withstanding the heat and humid-
ity in Manaus to zip across the pitch
dribbling through the Italian defence.
"For a young player like me to obvi-
ously play in such a big tournament,
when (Hodgson) told me I was starting
I was a bit nervous," Sterling said Tues-
day. "I thought to myself it was a great
opportunity for me to go out there and
show the footballing world what I can
But personal plaudits seemed incon-
sequential to the Londoner, who didn't
want to dwell on the 2-1 defeat in which
his vision was exemplified by opening
up the Italian defence in the leadup to
Daniel Sturridge's goal.
match, I wasn't really replying to any-
one," Sterling said, addressing reporters
for the first time since his World Cup
debut. "Obviously replied to my mum
and my sister but then after a couple
of days after it sank in I replied to every-
Losing admirably won't do again on
Thursday against Uruguay, which
opened Group D with a more demor-
alizing collapse to Costa Rica.
"Hopefully over the game (I) showed
some glimpses and helped my team,"
Sterling recalled of the Italy defeat. "It
was unlucky that we didn't get the win,
but I thought we played some good
stuff at times and definitely on Thurs-
day we will be going at it again."
The Jamaica-born Sterling, who grew
up in London near Wembley Stadium,
is cautious about expressing a prefer-
ence to starting in the middle or in his
more familiar club position on the wing,
instead highlighting his versatility.
"Anywhere in the attacking position
is my favorite position, and trying to
help the team with a goal or an assist,"
he said. "As a young player you have
to really learn and try to educate your-
self in different positions every day in
training and it's something I'm willing
He received advice before the game
from Wayne Rooney, who burst onto
the international scene a decade ago
as England's teenage star at the 2004
"Express yourself and enjoy the game
and not think too much about what's
going on," Sterling recalled Rooney
While Rooney comes under public
scrutiny over his failure to score across
three World Cups, the 28-year-old
striker is still someone the young players
in the England squad study for tips.
MANGARATIBA---If there was
one image that summed up
Italy s win over England, perhaps
it was when midfielder Raheem
Sterling dropped to the pitch in
the second half due to cramps
and Azzurri players Giorgio
Chiellini and Claudio Marchisio
were the first to come over and
help him stretch out his legs.
Italy prepared an extensive plan
to deal with the heat and humidity
of the World Cup's Amazon venue
of Manaus and that may have
provided the difference in the
Azzurri's 2-1 win.
"We prepared well in Cover-
ciano (Italy's training base back
in Florence) and you could see
that," coach Cesare Prandelli said.
"They had cramps midway
through the second half, and that
shows that our work paid off."
At Coverciano, Italy set up a
makeshift sauna right next to the
training pitch to replicate the con-
ditions in Manaus. Players went
in and rode stationary bikes then
came out and dipped their arms
in a huge bucket of ice-cold water
The Azzurri players were also
provided with specially designed
refrigerated gloves to aid recu-
peration after training sessions
and matches in intense condi-
"The lads were placed under
extensive observation," team
physician Enrico Castellacci said
Sunday. "We're fortunate to have
great physical trainers and we
studied everything down to the
most minimal details. We didn't
leave anything to chance."
Italy's superior fitness was wit-
nessed with the winning goal five
minutes into the second half.
Antonio Candreva dribbled past
Leighton Baines to provide a per-
fect cross for Mario Balotelli to
head in at the far post as defender
Gary Cahill struggled to keep up
with the Azzurri centre forward.
The temperature was 30
degrees C (86 degrees F) and the
humidity was at 61 per cent for
the Manaus match---not quite as
severe as expected but stifling
enough that Italy criticized FIFA
for not allowing time outs during
"They didn't allow time outs
but they were fairly lenient and
when the lads came near the
bench for breaks we were allowed
to distribute water to them,"
The longtime Azzurri physician
estimated that players lost at least
two liters (more than four pints)
of liquid during the match.
"It's different for each player
as everyone has different metab-
olisms," he said. "And it's not just
a matter of how much liquid was
lost. You also have to look at the
loss of electrolytes and mineral
While the England game started
at 6 pm local time, Italy next faces
Costa Rica in the northeastern
coastal town of Recife on Friday
at 1 pm local time (1600 GMT).
Italy hails its fitness
gives England hope
England's Raheem Sterling, top, is challenged by Italy's Matteo Darmian during
the group D World Cup soccer match between England and Italy at the Arena da
Amazonia in Manaus, Brazil, Saturday. AP PHOTO
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