Uruguay 2 England 1 World Cup
Posted: 19 June 2014 Time: 23:16
England’s worst fears were realised in Sao Paulo on Thursday as Luis Suarez scored a brace to down them 2-1 and all but send them packing from Brazil.
With both teams having lost their opening encounters, this Group D match was a must-win, but ultimately Suarez’s killer instinct in front of goals proved the difference.
The Liverpool striker underwent knee surgery just a month ago and missed the humiliating defeat to Costa Rica earlier in the week, but still Oscar Tabarez opted to include him in the starting line-up.
And it almost paid off straight away as Suarez’s cheeky fourth-minute corner forced Joe Hart into a diving save.
Still, England were hardly outdone – in fact, they dominated possession and came closest to opening the scoring when Wayne Rooney’s free-kick skimmed the crossbar with goalkeeper Fernando Muslera well beaten.
However, in a sign of things to come, defensive lapses almost cost England when Phil Jagielka allowed a cross to slip under his feet and run to Christian Rodrigues, but the Uruguayan blasted narrowly over.
In a seesaw battle, England again gained the initiative and on 31 minutes came closest when Steven Gerrard’s free-kick found Rooney at the back-post, but the Manchester United man hit the crossbar from one yard out.
It proved a costly miss as Suarez opened the scoring on 38 minutes – his run losing Jagielka, allowing the striker to cushion Edison Cavani’s cross into the corner.
If England were planning an early second half assault, they were in for a rude awakening as Uruguay came out looking to kill off the game.
And that’s what Cavani should have done when played in on goal in the 52nd minute but, with just the keeper to beat, the PSG striker put it well wide.
England finally grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and threw everything at Muslera’s goal.
First the keeper saved point-blank from Rooney, before bravely gathering at Sturridge’s feet.
And the pressure finally paid off on 76 minutes when Rooney got his first ever World Cup goal. Beautiful build-up play involving Gerrard, Sturridge and Glen Johnson saw the latter square to Rooney, who made no mistake from close range.
Sturridge almost added a second soon after, but then the moment of the match – a long clearance by the goalie flicked off Gerrard’s head, allowing Suarez to run in on goal and smash the ball past Hart.
England pushed hard to get back in in, but Uruguay hung on to get back into the group. They face Italy in the final game, while England are up against Costa Rica.