EVERYONE is putting a brave face on after defeat against Italy and, yes, there were aspects to admire despite the result.
The Young Lions were brave, we played some decent attacking football, and you’d like to think another performance like that would be enough to beat Uruguay.
But in the cold light of day Roy Hodgson will know that he failed to rectify the same mistake he made in Euro 2012, and nullify the threat of Andrea Pirlo.
The Juventus playmaker toyed with England at times and glided through the game. He completed 108 of his 103 passes – that’s 95 per cent – and to make matters worse, he looks the business with that beard.
England simply don’t have anyone capable of doing that. It will always be a case of effort and endeavour over consummate skill, and sometimes that just isn’t enough.
I just hope Hodgson doesn’t ignore another mistake, and brings Wayne Rooney out of the firing line on Thursday night.
Everyone can see the Manchester United man is below par. He just hasn’t got that spark at the moment.
Rooney, at his best, is that kid who wants to be everywhere on the pitch. His passion is every bit as important as his considerable skill with the ball at his feet, but that is the area lacking at the moment.
Leighton Baines has every reason to grumble about Rooney, who left him exposed on several occasions because he didn’t track his runners – a side of the game the United man rarely ignores.
Rooney did create a goal for Daniel Sturridge but even in an attacking sense he lacked the swashbuckling style that has made him “the man” over the last 10 years.
Thankfully there is an answer – and he hails from Rooney’s old stomping ground at Goodison Park.
Ross Barkley has that same youthful exuberance that shot Rooney to stardom. Hodgson might be right, we may have an “obsession” with the 20-year-old but there is a reason.
It seems to me that if we are going to crash out of this tournament in the second game, we have to do it on our own terms.
Let’s not remember Brazil 2014 as the tournament where Roy just wouldn’t drop Rooney.
Spare a thought for physio Gary Lewin, though, who became England’s first casualty of the tournament when he dislocated his ankle after tripping over a water bottle celebrating Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser. Oh the irony!