went into the match unchanged from the unlucky defeat against
Italy, except for moving Wayne Rooney
into a more central role and pushing Raheem Sterling wide.
It was quickly obvious that Uruguay were not going to be as bad
as they were in their opening game against Costa Rica, and they were
soon hustling England and pressing them into errors.
It took a while for England
to adapt to this pressure although after just two minutes the
Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera fumbled an easy ball, almost
dropping it at Daniel Sturridge's feet.
But after five minutes it was Suarez who almost created a goal
when his in-swinging corner almost went in directly.
Joe Hart was scrambling as he patted the ball away from danger.
It was a tentative and nervous start by
But gradually they settled down and Steven
Gerrard's fine pass set a good move down the right in motion.
That came to nothing but then Sturridge won a free-kick on the
edge of the area after a blatant handball by Godin resulted in the
game's first booking.
Rooney took the kick and he was just inches away from scoring after a
fine shot just curled the wrong side of the left-hand post.
It was so important that
should score first in this game as
were also looking nervous and tentative at times.
Mind you, the South Americans certainly didn't shirk their
tackles and several times the England
players were 'taken out'!
Godin should have received a red card for an 'assault' on Sturridge,
especially as he had already been booked.
Not for the last time on this night though, the Spanish referee
was not up to the task and he was often far too lenient with some of
On 15 minutes a sliced attempted clearance by
Phil Jagielka fell kindly for Cristian Rodriguez but the Uruguayan
fired over when perhaps he should have done better.
Sturridge then won a corner with a deflected shot, but
England's passing was not as good as
it had been against Italy,
mainly because the Uruguayan challenges were fierce, and hurried
out of their stride.
Rooney was being shadowed everywhere by Alvaro Pereira and the
Manchester United man took some bad late tackles.
On 28 minutes a clever corner routine ended with
Edinson Cavani shooting just over for Uruguay, and then Danny Welbeck
made a fine run into the box before just over-running the ball for a
goal-kick, even though replays suggested it should have been a corner.
Then, three minutes later Rooney was again so unlucky not to
score. A Gerrard corner
found him at the far post but his close range header struck the angle
of post and bar before it was cleared.
That began a period of pressure from
with Sturridge again shooting over and a number of corners were won.
With 39 minutes gone, and just as
were beginning to assert themselves more into the game, the Uruguayans
broke swiftly down the inside-left channel.
Gerrard missed a chance to stop the attack but his weak
challenge was not enough.
Then Glen Johnson did not close down Cavani and the talented Uruguayan
produced a stunning cross to Suarez, beyond the last defender,
Liverpool star still had a lot to do with the header, but
he placed it perfectly, wide of Hart.
It was difficult to be too critical of the
defence as Suarez did this against the Premier League's top defenders
all last season so we shouldn't be too surprised, but it was still so
difficult to stomach for the England
Sturridge had another effort well saved as
tried to hit back quickly, as they had done against the Italians, but
half-time came with England
still trailing. Several
players seemed off their game a little and at this level that can't
happen, the other teams take full advantage of such lapses.
The second-half began with
England's defence all over the place
at times. Suarez again
almost scored direct from a corner, and Alvaro Gonzales almost made it
2-0 before Cavani missed a golden chance to increase
Left completely unmarked he had an easy task to shoot past
Hart, but luckily for England
he scuffed his shot wide of the far post.
That miss seemed to wake England
from their slumbers and they started to hit back again.
On 53 minutes Rooney, once again, so nearly scored, this time
his excellent shot was brilliantly saved by the goalkeeper.
Rooney had easily been England's
best player and to be honest he could have had a hat-trick had he been
a little luckier, or perhaps more clinical with his finishing.
are the past masters at stopping momentum from the opposition, and
they usually use foul methods.
It was no different in this game and the
fans lost count of the number of times the
players were flattened when promising moves began.
But that is something you have to deal with at World Cups and
it is no good bleating about it.
It is frustrating, and referees should be stronger and deal
with it, but the Spanish official here left quite a bit to be desired
from an England
To their credit England kept pushing forward,
Jordan Henderson saw his shot saved, Sterling went down in the box,
but no chance of a penalty from this ref, and then Ross Barkley was
sent on to replace Sterling, who had been nowhere near as effective in
this game as he had been against Italy.
A Sturridge centre was then hurriedly cleared, Gerrard was
booked for a challenge nowhere near as brutal as some of the Uruguayan
challenges that had gone unpunished, and then Roy Hodgson brought on
Adam Lallana for Welbeck.
Finally, in the 75th minute
were rewarded for their spell of pressure.
A fine turn allowed Sturridge to send Johnson scampering down
the right. The full-back
cut inside and managed to toe-poke a cross as he was challenged.
The ball ran across goal and there was Rooney dashing in to
finally find the net from close range.
If anyone deserved a goal it was Rooney.
At this stage the feeling was that
now had the momentum and would go on to win the match.
Muslera again saved from Sturridge and the striker was then
bundled over in the box, again no chance of a penalty.
The match was ebbing and flowing but with just five minutes to
go a disastrous moment cost England
the match and probably their place in the tournament.
A long punt by the goalkeeper should have been dealt with
easily, but Gerrard's attempt at a header only succeeded in diverting
the ball wide of Jagielka to a Uruguayan player standing well offside
and on his own. Of course,
it had to be Suarez and he couldn't believe his luck as he confidently
strode forward unchallenged to bury the ball past Hart from an angle.
The sense of disappointment from the
fans and players was on a par with all the disappointments that they
have experienced many times before in other international tournaments.
the fact it was Suarez who made the difference just made it seem that
much more acute somehow.
Even goalkeeper Hart came up for a final corner
for England, but it was to no avail and as the white shirted players
trooped off the mood of the nation was just as it has been for the
last umpteen years of failure.
That may seem a little harsh after what had actually been two
pretty good performances by the team, but the bottom line, again, is
that we are just not quite good enough in the vital areas.
Now, all that is left is hope, hope that
can do us a favour by winning both of their last two games.
But, hang on a minute, when did
ever do England
a favour? (And I wrote
this before Italy
played CR!) Realistically
probably have one last chance to salvage some respect and that is by
beating Costa Rica.
A word of warning though, the match is being played in
Belo Horizonte, scene of the most awful
defeat in their history, back in the 1950 World Cup against the
Will history repeat itself?