England: World Cup chances hang in the balance after loss to Uruguay

Two goals from Luis Suarez were enough to provide victory for Uruguay.

England have lost their second group game against Uruguay, 2-1, and will be likely to exit the World Cup.  Luis Suarez was the difference between the two squads, and he bagged a brace for the Uruguayans.   England were unable to cope with his attacking prowess and conceded two poor goals for the second time this tournament.  The referee, Carlos Velasco Carballo, will have a lot to ponder after a string of bizarre decisions that went against England.

Both sides started nervously because they both knew that defeat would likely knock them out of the tournament.  England were unable to maintain possession and looked vulnerable at the back.  England keeper, Joe Hart, had several nervous moments that Uruguay were unable to capitalize on.  The first talking point happened in the 29th minute when Carballo failed to award Diego Godin a second yellow card, despite the defender cynically taking out Daniel Sturridge.  It was a clear second yellow and an indicator of things to come because the Carballo made some poor decisions.

England were unlucky not to take the lead in the 31st minute when Wayne Rooney headed Steven Gerrard’s free-kick into the bar.  Unfortunately for Rooney, the ball was an inch too high, and he was unable to connect firmly.  Eight minutes later, England were punished for not learning how to defend after the Italy game.  Edinson Cavani played a nice ball over Phil Jagielka and Suarez converted with a nice header.  It was similar to when Mario Balotelli ran off the shoulder of Gary Cahill and England should have done a better job covering Suarez.  He is easily Uruguay’s best player and England allowed him far too much space throughout the game.

Rooney scored his first ever World Cup goal in the 75th minute.

Uruguay should have been three or four goals up within five minutes of the second-half starting.  England started the half really poorly and were lucky to not be punished.  Hart looked shaky again and England were unable to clear the ball properly.  Luckily for England, they started to grow into the game as the half progressed.  This culminated with Rooney scoring the equalizer in the 75th minute.

Rooney has been the subject to a lot of unjust abuse about his contribution to the England team.  He was one of England’s best players, and despite missing a couple chances, found the back of the net from Glen Johnson’s brilliant cross.  It was no less than Rooney deserved, but it was simple tap-in that he had to score.

England looked the likeliest to score in the moments following their equalizer, but parity last just nine minutes.  Again they failed to deal with Suarez and conceded another soft goal.  Uruguay keeper, Fernando Muslera, kicked a long ball forward and it bounced badly off of Gerrard.  Suarez was played onside by the header and made no mistake with the opportunity, he blasted it past Hart.  It was a really poor goal to concede and totally took the wind out of England’s sails.  England were unfortunate to lose and the blame has to be placed on poor defending.  Both goals against Italy were poor and it was the same story against Uruguay.

As an England fan it is a frustrating loss because they failed to learn the lessons from the defeat against Italy.  Each goal that England has conceded has been from poor defending.  The failure to learn from those mistakes in unacceptable at this level. It is also frustrating because England could  have been awarded a penalty on several occasions, the most clear-cut seemed to be when Sturridge was taken out, moments after Rooney’s goal.   Carballo disagreed, but in my eyes he made two big mistakes that really effected the game.

This result means that England are not mathematically out of the World Cup, but they need results to fall in the favor, which seems highly unlikely.  The squad that Roy Hodgson selected are a lot better than these performances have shown, so England fans can be understandably disappointed with the results.  The one highlight is that Rooney has finally ended his dry spell at the World Cup.