Thursday night saw England put on the brink of elimination after a 2-1 defeat to Uruguay. Luis Suarez was the culprit as the Liverpool man put Uruguay in front after the 35th minute.Wayne Rooney eventually equalised late on in the second half with his first goal at a World Cup finals. However it wasn't to be as Suarez poped up again and all but crushed England's hope of progressing to the next round.
With a squad consisting of youth, talent and experience where did it possibly all go wrong for Roy Hodgson's men?
Defence wasn't up to the task
On paper the back four assembled seems relatively good. The likes of Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill and Glen Johnson do it week in and week out for their clubs. In fact as a complete unit they didn't even seem that bad. However it was some of their individual mistakes that helped to undo England.
Leighton Baines in particular was suspect. He struggled to cope with the threats coming down his wing especially against Italy. He had a torrid time against Lazio's Antonio Candreva. The Italy winger fooled Baines before putting in a delightful cross for Mario Balotelli to head in. As for when England played Uruguay Baines was no where to be seen for Suarez's second goal.
Cahill and Jagielka have been 'ok' bar a couple of costly mistakes. Jagielka failed to stay close enough to Suarez allowing him to poke in a well placed header for the opening goal. Cahill has arguably been England's best defender and although he was the closest man to Baloteli, there wasn't much he could do to stop the AC Milan striker from scoring in England's opening game.
Then there's poor old Glen Johnson. Public enemy number one. He's been slaughtered left, right and centre on the world of social media. He did set-up Rooney for his first World Cup goal but he was at fault for Uruguay's opener. He backed off from Edinson Cavani as if he was scared allowing the PSG forward to chip the ball to Suarez for him to head the ball home.
Overall defensively too many mistakes were made.
Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson couldn't replicate the form they showed at Liverpool all season
After not so convincing performances from captain Steven Gerrard and Liverpool teammate Jordan Henderson against Italy, Hodgson still kept his faith in them and decided the two would keep their places for England's second match in Group D.
It was Gerrard's mistake that led to Uruguay's winner, but overall the skipper was having a shocker of a match. No tactical analysis or statistical information is needed. Steven Gerrard has been awful so far.
Jordan Henderson in the opening minutes of the Italy game looked full of confidence. Wasn't afraid to play that ambitious ball, tested Sirgu early on. After that point he's been no where to be seen. He hasn't been his usual mobile self and for me a fit Jack Wilshere has to start ahead of him.
Roy Hodgson's decision making
During a game the manager has to act, especially if their team are losing. Roy Hodgson did alright, but way too late on in the match. England losing at half-time, something obviously isn't working so for God's sake Roy, please make some changes. Barkley, Lallana, Wilshere just someone please. That was the cry of many fans including myself.
But once again Hodgson decided to play the waiting game. To be honest I expected some fresh faces to be put in before the game. You lose your opening game 2-1 surely you look to shake things up a bit next time round and I don't mean by enforcing one position swap (Rooney and Sterling).
Why else do you bring 23 players instead of only 11 plus three substitutes? Henderson had a poor game - Wilshere in, Gerrard had a poor game - Lampard in. Why are there so many untouchables in this England side? I'm not saying change the whole team because of one bad result but what's the point of only making adjustments on the final hurdle you might not even be able to cross?
You would expect Italy to win their reaming games but a draw between Cesare Prandelli's men and Costa Rica would all but seal England's fate. Oh well there's always Euro 2016, right?
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