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Italy conquered England and the Amazonian conditions on Saturday evening to get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start, but were angered by a lack of drinks breaks

By Sam Lee in Manaus

Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini has criticised Fifa for not sanctioning time-outs during Saturday's match against England in Manaus, while coach Cesare Prandelli branded the decision "absurd".

Much had been made of the heat and humidity in the Amazon city ever since the World Cup draw was made in December, and although the stadium was in complete shade by kick-off and the temperature had cooled significantly compared to midday, conditions were still testing.

The Azzurri won an entertaining, end-to-end game 2-1 thanks to goals from Claudio Marchisio and Mario Balotelli, but Chiellini believes the players' health was put at risk.

"It was extremely hot and difficult for both teams," he told RAI. "I believe we'd need some little rules like time-outs, drinking breaks, in order to preserve the players' health."

He was backed up by coach Prandelli, who says the lack of water breaks also threatened to damage the spectacle.

"We worked on the weather conditions at Coverciano and Florence, but it is truly absurd that we can't have the time-out," he told reporters at the post-match press conference.

"Luckily the referee was good enough to interrupt, but it is absurd. If we want entertainment we have to give the players the energy to play. It was an epic match which will be remembered forever."

Italy continue their World Cup campaign against Costa Rica on Friday, with los Ticos having got off to a winning start themselves against Uruguay.

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