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Prandelli hails Italy midfield against England

Mario Balotelli's 50th-minute header proved to be the winner in the Group D clash at the FIFA World Cup as Prandelli's men made an ideal start to their campaign.

Italy controlled the tempo by keeping the majority of possession (55.5 per cent), and Prandelli was full of praise for his midfielders.

"I am clearly satisfied with this victory as this match against England was very difficult, they are a very good team," he said.

"We had a very good basis in midfield."

Prandelli said keeping possession through the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi and Marco Verratti would be the way to go for his side in Brazil.

They had looked largely unthreatening before Claudio Marchisio's strike from distance, which was cancelled out by Daniel Sturridge prior to Balotelli's second-half header.

"We don’t have players who are as powerful as England so we had to enhance the abilities of our players,” Prandelli said.

"They have technical abilities that are really, really good. In the first half we had better ball possession. This is a way to go."

Prandelli was unhappy with FIFA's decision not to have breaks in the humid conditions at the Arena de Amazonia in Manaus.

"It was madness not to have time-outs in these conditions," he told RAI Sport.

"It was impossible to maintain that level of intensity. The team suffered, but we maintained the supremacy in the middle of the field.

"We worked well in training and it showed, as midway through the second half England’s players had cramp. It means our work paid off."