England captain Steven Gerrard has not had it easy going into the World Cup. Gerrard’s Liverpool side had edged so close to winning the Barclay’s Premier League title this season had it not been for his infamous ‘slip’ against Chelsea.
History unfortunately repeated itself in last night’s crucial game against Uruguay who also needed a win after an upset defeat to 28th placed Costa Rica.
Gerrard once again was the man in the middle as he attempted to save a high cross from Edinson Cavani. He mis-timed the header and the ball came in the path of his Liverpool teammate and fiery striker Luis Suarez who went in for the kill, nine minutes after Wayne Rooney’s equalizer. England manager Roy Hodgson was left speechless and is reportedly very distressed by the defeat.
England lost by a goal for a second straight time with their hopes of qualifying for the Round of 16 hanging by a thread. They now must depend on Italy to beat both Uruguay and Costa Rica. At the same time they have to beat Costa Rica in their final group game by a high margin. If this scenario plays through, then the top two of their group will be decided upon goal difference. At this point, they still have an outside chance to make it.
Football can be a cruel sport but these are hard lessons for the talented English side to learn. Their defending was not up to par and while they maintained possession and had several chances to score, they simply could not capitalize on it. Their poor defending allowed for the prolific striker Suarez to score on his two chances at goal and was the key difference between the two sides at Arena de Sao Paulo.
England had quite a few Liverpool players who were very familiar with Suarez and they could have been suitably prepared to keep him from scoring. Suarez confounded critics and earned a valuable ‘dream win’ after coming off a knee injury which forced him to sit out Uruguay’s first match. He lasted long enough to score his second goal after which a cramp forced him to be substituted by another Liverpool teammate Sebastian Coates.
Gerrard reportedly felt after the match that his side ‘lacked experience’ and a draw would have sufficed with ten minutes or so left after Rooney’s equalizer, a point that would have kept them in a much safer position going-in against Costa Rica.
Perhaps they should’ve taken lessons from ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho who is well-versed with ‘parking the bus’. Roy’s boys are not out yet, and hopefully the Azzurri will do them a much-needed favor…