England’s Rio Road Trip Part II: Uruguay

June 23, 2014 7:00 am

It’s deja vu. Once again we are all talking about England being knocked out of a major tournament having not exactly set the world alight. The fear of being knocked out became a reality when the Uruguayan talisman Luis Suarez headed his team into the lead after 39 minutes. England responded briefly but it was all a bit headless chicken and to no avail, subsequently Uruguay took control leaving the England team shaken to their luminous boots. That was until the 75th minute, when Wayne Rooney finally managed to break his World Cup goal drought and renewed English hopes. However, ten minutes later, the excellent Suarez secured his brace with a fabulous finish from a tight angle and stabbed a final knife into the hearts of us English faithful watching at home.rooney-2

This game was a stark contrast to the Italian match. England appeared very nervous from the first to the last minute. This was best shown through the shambles that was the first corner which Luis Suarez delivered into the penalty area. He deployed his excellent vision having spotted Joe Hart off his goal line and attempted to swerve the ball home at the near post. That he certainly did. The England keeper had to be very nimble on his feet in order to tip the ball around the post. This pattern continued throughout the first 45 minutes with ever more frequent errors occurring from Roy Hodgson’s team. In fact, it was an error that created Uruguay’s first goal. The opening came from a brilliant pass from the midfielder Lodeiro through to the striker Edinson Cavani. Then, after Glen Johnson failed to close him down just outside the area, Cavani delivered an inch perfect cross towards Suarez who sent the Uruguayan fans delirious with a superb headed finish. This appeared to generate a degree of panic among the England boys because they knew that if they didn’t respond quickly they would be having to book an early plane back to England.

The second half started in much the same pattern as the first with more Uruguayan chances going begging in the early stages. However, when Wayne Rooney ended his World Cup drought by netting a close range effort not only were English hopes of progression rekindled but the overall pattern of the game also seemed to change. This shift mostly came from the threatening nature of Leighton Baines’s crosses from the left hand side. Sadly these did not reap any rewards to the disappointment of the travelling England fans. Then, in the 85th minute, the English hopes of qualifying for the last 16 were dealt a final crushing blow. After Muslera’s clearance from a goal kick, the ball was deflected off the head of skipper Steven Gerrard and into the path of Luis Suarez. He proceeded to smash the ball into the back of the net from a tight angle beating the despairing dive of Joe Hart. Cue English heartbreak. This particular loss would have caused extra pain for Roy’s boys because it meant that England had lost the first two group games for the first time ever in a World Cup tournament.

67925The result left England’s fate in the hands of Italy who would need to win both their remaining games to give England an unlikely chance to progress. As fans we should have been feeling optimistic because the Italians’ next game was against Costa Rica. However, we were very quickly taught a sound lesson about how never to underestimate the underdog. Costa Rica achieved a remarkable victory which ended England’s faint hopes of progression and delivered the ignominy of failing to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Overall, I feel that we as fans should attempt (however hard it may be) to put the disappoint from this tournament behind them and look forward to the future of our national side because we do have some promising young players at our disposal such as Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Ross Barclay who again showed encouraging performances during this match.

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