Roy Hodgson
Hodgson was pleased with England despite the defeatReuters

England manager Roy Hodgson is confident his side can still make it to the knockout phases, despite the Three Lions suffering a 2-1 defeat against Italy in their opening fixture in the tricky Group D.

Though Claudio Marchisio's 35th-minute opener was cancelled out by Daniel Sturridge two minutes later, Mario Balotelli sealed the game for the Azzurri by heading in the 50th minute.

However, Hodgson, who says he is very proud of his team's performance, insists England can bounce back and qualify to the round of 16.

"It was undoubtedly the best I have seen us play, as a team, in my time with them," Hodgson said. "It's tough to accept we lost. But I've got great confidence we can do well enough in the next games to qualify."

Despite admitting his disappointment in the defeat, Hodgson remains positive about England's chances of getting the required points against Uruguay and Costa Rica.

"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."

England skipper Steven Gerrard also feels the Three Lions showed great improvement against Italy, especially in the attacking department.

"We got criticised two years ago for sitting back and being a bit toothless. Anyone who watched the game tonight could see how we were trying to create. We pushed and pushed. We gave it everything we have got and we were unlucky not to get anything out of it," said the Liverpool captain.

Gerrard admits now England have to beat Uruguay, in order to book a place in the last 16.

"The result does put a lot of pressure on getting a result against Uruguay but no matter what the result was, we would still have had to go and beat them anyway. The challenge is a bit more difficult but it is certainly doable."