Luis Suarez just loves playing against English defenders. After tearing up the Premier League last season for Liverpool, where he scored 31 goals, Suarez did the same in San Paulo on Thursday as his two goals led Uruguay to a 2-1 victory over England. A defeat that leaves England’s World Cup future hanging by a thread.
Suarez, in his first game since undergoing knee surgery six weeks ago was unstoppable, although part of that was the England defending which conceded two goals for the second straight game. The England back four of Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka and Baines have been poor, showing a lack of experience in the biggest competitons. Cahill and Jagielka were at fault for both Uruguay goals, and if you add in Balotelli’s winner in the first game, three of the four goals conceded have been as a direct result of poor defending by the two central defenders. It is difficult to win matches in tournaments when that happens.
Heading into the match the English press were given pelters to Wayne Rooney for his performance against Italy, where despite being played out of position, he laid on Sturridge’s goal and should have scored himself.
Back in his preferred number 10 role, Rooney was at the heart of everything god that England did. He scored England’s goal, his first ever in a World Cup, and on another day could have had a hat-trick, missing two other really good chances.
And that was the difference between the two sides. Rooney had three great chances to score and put one away. Suarez also had three chances and buried two to them.
Heading into the World Cup expectations in England were that they would not get out of the group stages, which looks like will be the case. So it amazes me to see the over the top coverage as if the two defeats is a major shock.
This was always an England side with one eye of the Euros in two years. Roy Hodgson has brought a lot of young players into the squad and they will have all gained a lot from this World Cup.
As for Uruguay, their progression in the competition is by no way certain. They will probably have to beat Italy in the final game to advance, but with Suarez in this form that is doable. He turns an average side into a very good side.