There was so much promise for England from their 2-1 World Cup defeat against Italy ahead of the crucial group stage match against Uruguay.
However all that was wiped out by another world-class display of finishing by Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and a tepid display.
Although England produced a tepid display last night, there was very little difference between the two teams except for one; Uruguay had a world-class striker in Luis Suarez up front.
The Liverpool striker had an operation on his knee just a month ago, yet there he was in full throttle scoring twice.
In the game Suarez did not have many chances of note, apart from his goals, just one chance comes to mind when he dragged an effort wide early in the second half. Suarez was clinical in front of goal and England was not it is as simple as that.
For a striker who is just coming back from injury it was an incredible performance. A mention should also go to strike-partner Edinson Cavani who produced a fantastic pinpoint cross for Suarez’s first goal.
There was a massive difference between Suarez and much maligned England forward Wayne Rooney in the game. The Manchester United star finally broke his World Cup duck, scoring with a tap-in from Glen Johnson’s cross to equalise for his team.
However, he fired a free-kick wide of goal, headed against the upright and also fired an effort straight at the Uruguay keeper. Rooney did look more dangerous in this game than the last, but the difference was summed up in the score line Rooney 1, Suarez 2, sorry England 1 Uruguay 2.
It is just a shame for Rooney that it looks like England’s World Cup is coming to an end, as once he scored the goal he seemed to come alive and wanted the ball more. He is a confidence player and no doubt he would have produced more confident performances.
For now it looks like he only has the Costa Rica game to vent his World Cup fury and hopefully he can put in a decent display, even if the game means nothing in terms of qualification.
Suarez completely terrified England’s centre-backs Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill. They are both decent defenders at club level. Cahill plays for Chelsea, who had the best defensive record in the Premier League last season.
While it is also worth noting that Jagielka plays for Everton, who conceded the third least goals in the top-flight, in a defence that also contained England left-back Leighton Baines.
Prior to the tournament the Cahill and Jagielka partnership looked decent enough. In fact they had gone 11 games unbeaten when lining up alongside each other. However, neither are world-class defenders.
Both are good solid professionals and on their day good Premier League defenders. However, at the highest level they have been exposed. Their performances in Brazil will bring to the fore the talk of whether John Terry should have been playing at the heart of the England defence in Brazil.
Steven Gerrard has been a great servant to Liverpool, but his performances for England have been nowhere close to those he has produced in a red shirt. Last night he committed a vital mistake and gave friend and teammate Suarez the chance to finish England off. A chance he was never going to miss.
In truth, Gerrard’s strength was always surging forward and producing moments of magic in front of goal. The Liverpool captain has adapted his game in recent years and he now plays more of a defensive midfield role.
His passing ability should be vital in that position, but he displayed very little of those passes at the World Cup. It seems he no longer has the legs to play at the highest level and his international career looks to be reaching its end.
England’s display against Uruguay was rather cautious, which was in stark contrast to their display against Italy. It seemed that England boss Roy Hodgson reverted to type in his approach, looking not to lose the game instead of going out to win the game.
Uruguay approached the game to win by playing two strikers in Edinson Cavani and Suarez with Nicolas Lodeiro just behind those strikers. That was a very positive approach from La Celeste boss Oscar Tabarez.
However, it also meant that England should have had space down the wings, as Uruguay was playing such a narrow midfield. However, nobody on the England bench seemed to have the tactical nous to realise this, or if they did then the England players were not following instructions.
Either way England went out on the pitch looking scared of defeat, instead of going at the Uruguayan’s full-tilt from the opening whistle. All that Roy Hodgson caution brought was the dreaded defeat that leaves the Three Lions set to take an early plane home.
It is not inconceivable that England could still progress. The Three Lions progress depends on Italy defeating Costa Rica today and then Uruguay on Tuesday, coupled with an England victory over Costa Rica in the last game.
Whether England deserve to progress is another matter. England boss Roy Hodgson has said he will not resign, but I suggest that after that inept display that the FA has to seriously look at the situation.
Uruguay were no mugs and have world-class strikers, but they also had serious weaknesses to expose and the England boss and his coaching team could not see that then they are in the wrong job.
It now looks like England has one game left at the World Cup. In truth, everybody in that England set-up has shown they are not good enough. Maybe Tuesday is a chance for Roy Hodgson to allow the likes of Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana an opportunity to impress from the start.
England are in a position where they no longer have anything to lose and hopefully the Three Lions can at least put in a winning performance in the last game of the tournament to give their fans something to cheer. England are now odds of 7/1 to make the knockout stages, which at this point looks very unlikely.
Should Roy Hodgson remain the England boss?
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