Claudio Marchisio's first-half opener was swiftly cancelled out by Daniel Sturridge's goal but Mario Balotelli struck early in the second period and, despite long periods of pressure, Roy Hodgson's men could not find another equalizer in Manaus.
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"Whatever the result tonight we would have had to go and beat Uruguay anyway," he told BBC Sport after the game on Saturday. "The challenge is a bit more difficult but certainly doable.
"Italy are a good team but we knew how they were going to play. They never surprised us. It's disappointing because we put so much into it and came away with nothing."
England were enterprising despite the defeat, with the likes of youngster Raheem Sterling impressing in an exciting attack, and the skipper was pleased with their intent.
"We got criticized four years ago for sitting back and being toothless but anyone who watched the game could see we were trying to create," he enthused. "We pushed and pushed. We gave it everything we've got and were unlucky not to get anything out of it.
"The chances were there and we created them. Maybe we need to look at finishing a few more chances off but we can't point any fingers because everyone has given everything they've got tonight. The effort, desire and commitment was there.
"We weren't sure how Italy would improve from two years ago but they certainly found another gear," he added. "If we look at the game as a whole we can be pleased. It just goes to show how cruel this level can be.
"It was a tough night but, whatever the conditions, it was always going to be tough playing Italy. It was warm, sticky, dry and moving under the foot but they are just excuses at the end of the day and we are still not out of this group."