This Group of Death encounter was a decider of sorts. The team that lost would be on the brink of elimination and there was nothing between the two teams. Roy Hodgson had come under a lot of criticism for his handling of Wayne Rooney and his tactics versus Italy, and Oscar Tabarez’s side had been knocked down by a stubborn Costa Rica. It was going to be redemption for one, and utter dismay for the other. Wayne Rooney featured in his 10th World Cup match for England, having never scored in 684 minutes. Uruguay had not won any of their last 15 World Cup games against European opponents. England had never lost 2 of their opening World Cup games ever. The statistics were on side of Steven Gerrard’s men.
It was Uruguay 2 – 1 England at Sao Paolo and it was The Three Lions who were on the verge of elimination. An emotional Luis Suarez was the hero for the South American giants and he was on the shoulders of the teammates as the English stars looked around in dejection.
The match started with Uruguay looking the better side and controlling the ball with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani fearlessly leading the line. England got into the thick of the action too, with Rooney going tantalizingly close to scoring, his freekick going narrowly wide. Diego Godin was booked early on, and should have been off after a horrendous challenge on Daniel Sturridge. Wayne Rooney came close to scoring again, but this time his header hit the bar. Unlucky for the Everton born Manchester United striker. He was desperate to get the goal. A couple of minutes after that, Uruguay hit the ground running. A misplaced pass by Stevie G, means Edinson Cavani took over the loose ball, and lifted it for Luis Suarez, who made no mistakes and beat Joe Hart with a comfortable header. England went behind once again, but it seemed a comeback was definitely on the cards, as England had looked really positive on the ball. Uruguay had their noses in front at half-time and they had lots to be happy about. The gamble of playing a fresh from knee surgery Suarez had paid off. For England, the Liverpool trio of Sterling-Henderson-Gerrard had disappointed, with Sterling not being effective at all, Gerrard guilty of a massive error and Henderson who looked slightly fazed by the task at hand.
The second half started with chances at a premium for England, as Rooney and Co. came close only to be thwarted by Muslera. Ross Barkely entered the fray for 19 year old Raheem Sterling, a disappointing performance for the Liverpool man, but really, you can’t put such a young guy and expect him to be the match winner every time. Nurture vs Nature battle here. With Rooney and Barkey running havoc, it was only a matter of time before England actually scored. And then it came. The big moment. Wayne Rooney scored his first ever World Cup Finals goal, and we have to say, he deserved a goal more than any player in the England squad. After some sublime play from Sturridge, who found Johnson on the right side, whose ball was perfect for Rooney to tap home. It was game on, and you could see what they goal meant for Wayne Rooney, and what it meant for England. They were back in it, with a big shout. If you thought it was going to be another comeback like us, you were mistaken. 5 minutes from time, Gerrard did what he has done time and time again – won the game for the opposition. A long ball by Muslera was met by Gerrard, only for him flick it towards his own goal, in the path of Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez, who punished England with shot of some venom. Hart could’ve done better, but the shot was too powerful for any keeper. Luis Suarez was once again the hero for Uruguay and this win was a memorable one. It kept their hopes alive, and put England on the verge of elimination. This was the first time England lost their first 2 opening games and no team who had done so, ever progressed to the next round. It seems unlikely England will make it through now.
Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani had brilliant games, Suarez scoring twice in the process. He was clinical and seemed to make the entire England defence nervy everytime he got the ball, and understandably so. Steven Gerrard was once again culpable for England’s woes as he has been time and time again. He proved to be the weak link in the English side, not Wayne Rooney, who had come under major criticism. What a game it was Wayne Rooney who scored his first goal in the World Cup, took his own tally to 40 and matched Michael Owen. He was the Wayne Rooney we all knew, being the constant and only threat to Uruguay and he showed what he can do when played in his preferred position. He justified his place perfectly and was unlucky not to get a hat-trick. Italy need a major favour from Italy in order to stay in Brazil and Uruguay need to do more of the same if they want to qualify. They looked a different side with a Suarez in their attack and will pose a genuine threat to Italy in their final game, if he stays fit.
FIFA/Our Man Of The Match – Luis Suarez.
The Premier League top scorer seemed a major doubt for the World Cup after being operated upon just 4 weeks ago. But my, what a difference he made. He scored two very crucial goals and Oscar Tabarez’s gamble paid off. His heroics may have just knocked England out and we cannot stress how vital he was in the game. His now has a phenomenal record of scoring 5 in 7 World Cup games for Uruguay, and the winner was his 40th international goal. His goal scoring prowess is unique and he is one of the greatest strikers in the game today.
FootballsToYou Flop Of The Match – Steven Gerrard.
The England captain had a night to forget and he exited the stadium at full time downbeat and with enormous guilt as he could very well be the one who is responsible for England’s demise. First he was guilty of giving the ball away and secondly he gave the ball to Suarez that led to the winner. He was overrun in midfield, and was woeful. To put in the new technical term, he had a Casillas of a game. This just added to his domestic woes after he slipped and handed the Premier League title to Manchester City.