Tough to accept that we lost the game, says Hodgson

Tough to accept that we lost the game, says Hodgson

England manager Roy Hodgson found it hard to take losing to Italy in their opening World Cup game on Saturday after what he called the best performance of his two years in charge of the team.

Italy won the Group D clash 2-1 thanks to a 50th-minute winner from Mario Balotelli after England were unable to find an equaliser. 

"It's always difficult when you lose a game to take the positives. Even when it was 2-1, I thought we'd get back into it and go on to win it because it was quite a dominant second-half performance," Hodgson told reporters.

"The only positive I can take is that it was undoubtedly the best I've seen the team play during my time with them," said Hodgson who took over as England manager two years ago.

Costa Rica beat Uruguay 3-1 in the group's opening game and Hodgson believes his team still have every chance to progress to the last 16.

"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," he said.

"I've got great confidence that we can do well enough in the next two games to qualify and I'm sure the players will get that when they get over this disappointment."

Hodgson was pleased with the way his team restricted Italy's attack but frustrated at his players' inability to deliver precise final passes.

"It's a bit tough to accept that we lost the game, especially considering there were so few shots on our goal in the second half," he said.

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