URUGUAY 2, ENGLAND 1 (WORLD CUP GROUP D)
LUIS SUAREZ PUNISHES DEFENSIVE LAPSES WITH DOUBLE STRIKE DESPITE WAYNE ROONEY’S FIRST ENGLAND WORLD CUP FINALS GOAL
It had to be him. At the end of an exhausting second half, a ‘half-fit’ Luis Suarez pounced on a mistake by his Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard from a long punted route one clearance by Fernando Muslera.
Suarez scored the goal that completely deflated England who had looked more positive after Wayne Rooney’s tap-in from Glen Johnson’s cross had levelled the scores.
Gerrard was at fault for the Suarez winner while Phil Jagielka was guilty of allowing Suarez to lose him for the Uruguayan’s opening goal after a superb cross by Edinson Cavani.
England have never lost the first two games in the group stage of the World Cup and haven’t failed to qualify from the group stage since 1958 so aren’t out of the tournament yet but they now need favours from Italy.
They will now need Italy to beat Costa Rica tomorrow and Uruguay next week while England would have to beat Costa Rica and ensure that their goal difference was superior to both Costa Rica and Uruguay.
History is against them, though, as no side has ever qualified for the Round of 16 after losing their first two games and England might be going home this early for the first time since 1958.
FIVE THINGS THAT CHANGED THE GAME AGAINST URUGUAY
Diego Godin should have been sent off for a second booking in the 29th minute after a deliberate foul on Daniel Sturridge as he tried to get past him. He was already booked for a handball in the 9th minute. Was the referee lenient due to his earlier booking?
Wayne Rooney had two presentable chances to score in the first half. Firstly with a 25 yard free kick that left Fernando Muslera rooted but was wide of the left post. His second effort was a header from a Steven Gerrard free kick which he headed against the angle of the back post under pressure from Martin Caceres and crossbar. He finally got his first World Cup finals goal, and his 40th England goal, in the 75th minute. It was just a tap in but Glen Johnson finally got a cross in and Rooney got there on time to convert.
He might have been unfit but Luis Suarez was still mentally sharp a month after keyhole surgery on his knee. He drifted away from Phil Jagielka, Edinson Cavani spotted him and sent in a great cross which the Liverpool striker neatly headed past Hart after 39 minutes for his 40th Uruguay goal in 78 appearances. He also sent a near post corner whipping in which Hart had to clear after Danny Welbeck missed it. Suarez nailed England’s World Cup hopes with an 85th minute winner after Steven Gerrard mistimed a defensive header allowing Suarez to get behind him and score with England’s central defenders ball watching before he finally went off for a rest.
Daniel Sturridge almost secured an equaliser a minute after Uruguay took the lead. His near post strike was saved by Muslera but although England’s attack won a series of free kicks and corners they were slow to move the ball and became predictable and vulnerable to the counter attack when attacks broke down. Their passing didn’t reach the heights of the Italy game. At this level a World Class striker really makes the difference and England don’t seem to have one.
Late changes took the width away from England but England never really used their width anyway nor did they test Uruguay’s young central defender who had been brought in to replaced their injured captain Diego Lugano. Individual mistakes and profligacy cost England tonight and the defence was always questionable and never received the protection they needed.