Suarez the executioner gloats as he sinks stuttering England
Sensational Liverpool striker returns from knee injury to kill off the Three Lions
Uruguay 2 England 1. The Three Lions aren't quite out of the World Cup, but they deserve to be after a nervous, stuttering display against Uruguay that ended with a late winner for the South American side. Inevitably, Luiz Suarez was England's executioner, striking at the end of each half with goals that emphasised his brilliance.
England's effort came from Wayne Rooney, who finally found the net in his tenth World Cup appearances. It could all have been different if Rooney had converted one of his other chances, but he is not Suarez, and as a result England's hopes of progressing to the knockout phases are all but over.
For England to avoid being eliminated from the group stage for the first time since the 1958 World Cup they must pray Italy win their last two games – against Costa Rica later today and then Uruguay on Tuesday, while England thump the Costa Ricans by a handsome margin in their final pool encounter.
It's possible, anything is in football – as Rooney proved last night as he finally found the net – but Roy Hodgson isn't holding out much hope. "Our chances are unbelievably slim," conceded the England coach. "We depend on Italy winning their next two matches and us beating Costa Rica by the requisite number of goals... we needed a result against Uruguay. We needed a victory and we didn't get it."
The inevitable question was asked in the post-mortem following the defeat (the first time England have ever lost their first two World Cup group matches) about Hodgson's future, to which he replied: "I'm bitterly disappointed, of course, but I don't feel I need to resign, no. On the other hand, if the FA think I'm not the right man to do the job, that will be their decision not mine."
Hodgson should remain in the job. He's done what he could with an average bunch of players led by Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool man is the last of the so-called 'Golden Generation' and once again he has continued the tradition of that group of players by reminding England fans of the gulf in class between his club performances and those for his country.
In fact it was a poor night all round for Liverpool's England contingent. Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson and Glenn Johnson also had poor games, perhaps the sight of their club teammate for once on the opposition overwhelming them.
Suarez was sensational. It is hard to comprehend that he had a knee operation only a few weeks ago and in his first game back. England had hoped that he would be off the pace, but he looked sharper than anyone in a white shirt. His first goal, on 39 minutes, was a sweet header from a tight angle that gave Joe Hart no chance as it floated inside the right-hand post. Sweet though the header was it was nothing compared to Edinson Cavani's inch-perfect cross that ended up on Suarez's head.
Rooney levelled for England on 75 minutes, tapping in Johnson's cross at the far post, but then Suarez sank England with another breathtaking goal five minutes from time. This time the assist came from Gerrard, the England captain inadvertently heading the ball into the Uruguayan's path, but Suarez finished the job as coolly as if he was back on the Liverpool training ground. Afterwards he couldn't help but gloat, delighted to have helped dump out the country whose press have been on his back for seasons.
"Before the game too many people in England laughed about my attitude over the last few years [for Liverpool]," he said. "This is a very good time for me. I want to see what they think now."
What they're probably thinking, is why weren't you born English? ·