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England on verge of World Cup exit after Uruguay defeat

Uruguay's Luis Suarez scores his side's second goal against England

Uruguay's Luis Suarez scores his side's second goal against England

England stand on the brink of a early World Cup exit after Luis Suarez blew Roy Hodgson’s men away with a deadly double in Sao Paulo.

Wayne Rooney thought he had snatched a draw for England after he equalised Suarez’s opener in the first half.

But with five minutes left on the clock Steven Gerrard accidentally put the controversial Liverpool striker through and he beat Joe Hart to give the Uruguayans a 2-1 win.

Only a minor miracle will keep England in the tournament now.

If Costa Rica and Italy draw on Friday afternoon, or the Central Americans beat Cesare Prandelli’s team, England will be eliminated with one match to spare.

If Italy won both their remaining games, Uruguay, Costa Rica and England will be tied for second spot, provided that Hodgson’s men win their final match.

That seems unlikely after the defensive performance shown last night.

No team in World Cup history has gone through after two defeats, so England might as well start thinking about going home after next Tuesday’s game in Belo Horizonte against Costa Rica.

England showed promise in their first match against Italy, but in Sao Paulo they came up against a rigid and bruising Uruguay defence.

They had their chances to take something from the game. Rooney hit the bar and went close with a brilliant free-kick in the first half.

But once again, the attack cannot be blamed for the result.

England’s defence was poor. They always looked susceptible to pace and Suarez, despite being half-fit, caused them problems all night. England started on the back foot. Suarez’s cross deflected off Gary Cahill’s head and Hart almost spilled the ball into his own net. It was not the start England wanted.

The pressure lifted for a moment when Diego Godin was booked for punching Daniel Sturridge’s through-ball.Rooney steadied himself and bent the resulting free-kick over the wall and narrowly wide of Fernando Muslera’s goal.

Wayne Rooney’s big chance of the first half came when he connected with Gerrard’s free-kick just under the goal frame, but his header struck the frame and bounced out.

Then, seven minutes before the break, Suarez struck.

Gerrard lost the ball on the halfway line while England had men upfield and Uruguay hit on the counter. Glen Johnson gave Cavani enough time and space to curl a peach of a cross that looped over Cahill’s head and Suarez did the rest.

England’s defence again switched off after the break, allowing Cavani through but he shot wide.

Then Rooney found space in the box at the other end of the pitch, but he could only fire at Muslera. It was as if he was destined to never score a World Cup goal.

However Johnson, who had been poor all night, took one player on and slipped the ball through the legs of Alvaro Gonzalez to Rooney, who prodded home to spark celebrations.

But with five minutes left Suarez struck the killer blow.

 

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