MARC ILES MATCH VERDICT: Suarez stars, but there's still something lacking with England
LUIS Suarez bit the hand that feeds him – effectively dumping England out of the World Cup with a goal in each half in Sao Paulo.
Fit again, wouldn’t you just know it would be the Liverpool striker who pounced on his only two chances of the game to leave England needing snookers to progress to the knockout stages.
Progression is not impossible with victory over Costa Rica on Tuesday night, coupled with a win for Italy in each of their remaining games.
But you would have to say at this stage that it looks very, very unlikely.
In the cold light of day – can Roy Hodgson’s side really say they did enough to win their two games so far?
They huffed and puffed on the edge of the box, Raheem Sterling’s exciting running and the much-improved Wayne Rooney linking nicely with Daniel Sturridge.
That cutting edge was lacking when it was most needed, though, and without someone with the clinical precision of Suarez, England’s tournament was probably always doomed to fail.
Trailing to an expertly-taken Suarez header on 39 minutes, England had their excuses all lined up.
Diego Godin should definitely have been sent off in the first half, following his assault on Sturridge when already on a yellow card.
Had the former Bolton man made more of it, referee Carlos Carballo might have taken some notice.
But just as we prepared to put a brave face on another decent but pointless performance, an unlikely hero in Glen Johnson emerged.
Bustling through two challenges on the right, he crossed low for Wayne Rooney to tap in from close range to finally end his World Cup finals jinx.
A goal was all that was missing in what was definitely a better showing from the Manchester United man in a central role. Denied by the woodwork from about three yards out in the first half, Rooney was then foiled by Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera after Leighton Baines’ low cross found him eight yards out after the restart.
A point would have been fair enough. Just as we looked towards a tense early evening game on Tuesday it was that man Suarez who showed the nous to race on to a poor header from his Anfield team-mate Gerrard and lash the ball past Joe Hart.
That is the kind of clinical edge England just don’t have.
We live to fight another day, only just, but this tournament has shown that however much spin Hodgson puts on our young guns’ performances, there is still something lacking.
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