Saturday, Aug 2, 2014Saturday, Aug 2, 2014
World Cup 2014
 

Uruguay 2 England 1: Highlights, key battles, and what this result means

Published on Jun 20, 2014 5:41 AM
 

Overcome by fatigue and emotion, a tearful Luis Suarez was lifted onto the shoulders of his Uruguay team-mates at the end of an absorbing encounter in Sao Paulo. Barely a month after undergoing knee surgery, the striker returned to inflict pain on his country of residence.

Scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over England, the Liverpool hitman helped to revive his team's World Cup campaign while sending the Three Lions to the brink of yet another early exit from an international tournament.

After fluffing several gilt-edged opportunities, Wayne Rooney thought he had rescued the English by equalising late in the second half - breaking his World Cup duck in his 10th appearance. But momentary lapses of concentration from his compatriots at the back let in Suarez, who looked sharp as ever despite his spell on the sidelines.

Highlights

- Suarez broke the deadlock with a header of the highest quality. Surrounded by five England players, the 27-year-old timed his angled run into the box to perfection. With centre-back Phil Jagielka caught ball-watching, Suarez was unmarked to guide Edinson Cavani's floater past a fully-stretched Joe Hart.

- Just minutes earlier, Rooney contrived to head the ball against the woodwork from one metre out after rising highest to meet Steven Gerrard's inswinging free-kick.

- On the brink of being labelled England's latest World Cup scapegoat, Rooney thought he had rescued at least a point with a simple tap-in in the 75th minute after neat build-up from Glen Johnson down the right flank.

- But it was not to be for Rooney and company. To cap off another forgettable showing in England's engine room, Gerrard headed the ball right into the path of Suarez with five minutes to go. The world's deadliest striker did not hesitate in smashing the ball into the roof of Hart's net, sparking delirious scenes in the stands and on the Uruguay bench.

Key battle

Alvaro Gonzalez vs Steven Gerrard

The Lazio workhorse was a key factor behind Gerrard's abject performance. Knowing that the Liverpool stalwart thrived in space deep in his own half, Gonzalez hounded his opponent as soon as he got the ball. As a result, Gerrard's trademark cross-field passes to initiate attacks down the flanks were minimised.

Man of the Match

A banner with the phrase 'God Save Suarez' was spotted at the Corinthians Arena. On this night, it was Suarez who saved Uruguay. Far from his full fitness, all the master marksman needed was two moments of hesitant defending from England to showcase his killer instincts.

The scary thought for opponents is that Uruguay's No. 9 will only get fitter, stronger and sharper - if that is humanly possible - as the tournament progresses.

What this result means

England's fate is out of their hands. They will be knocked out if Italy and Costa Rica draw on Friday. If either side wins, the Three Lions must then beat Costa Rica in their final group match and rely on goal difference for a slim chance of progressing to the Round of 16.

Depending on the Italy-Costa Rica result, Uruguay will progress - and even finish atop Group D - if they beat the Azzurri on Tuesday. It is fair to say that Suarez will grab a few more headlines before the competition is over.

 

Videos