A highly ineffective and uninspiring England team has been embarrassed on the international stage, yet again.
A 2-1 defeat to Italy was quickly followed by another defeat in the group stages of the Fifa World Cup 2014 – a loss early this morning, to Uruguay, by the same 2-1 score line.
Lacklustre and devoid of ideas
In both of their world cup games, England was completely lacklustre and let down yet again, by their defensive frailties and ineffective play. They had been easily outplayed by both Uruguay and Italy.
Wayne Rooney was supposed to have lit up the competition with his sublime football skills. He was meant to be England’s star, going into this tournament. But most of the time, he had failed to impress. He certainly wasn’t the bright spark that he was expected to be.
Indeed, it must be noted that Rooney scored his first goal in this world cup tournament and silenced his critics. But this was all thanks to the efforts of fellow Englishmen, Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson. Uruguay’s Luis Suarez quickly made his effort redundant, though.
Making defensive mistakes
At the same time, England kept on making silly mistakes at the back when playing Uruguay, even when they knew that everything was at stake for them. This was probably the main reason that had let the English side down.
For example, in Suarez’s second goal, Steven Gerrard did his country no favours – with his badly timed back pass falling directly into Suarez’s path. This had led directly to the Uruguay player’s decisive goal.
Gerrard’s back-pass brings back bad memories for Merseysiders
To English fans supporting Liverpool too, this goal brought back the unfortunate memories of their club’s collapse in the English Premier League earlier this year.
In the domestic English league competition, the Reds had literally been within touching distance of the title – when a Steven Gerrard error had killed their hopes and caused them to collapse.
So for the second time in a row, Gerrard’s mistake has led directly to an opponent scoring a vital goal to almost eliminate his side. Perhaps now, Gerrard must really feel that he is cursed.
What does this now mean for England?
For England, the equation now is simple, if they want to keep alive their very slim mathematical hopes of making it to the knockout stages. They have to hope for Italy to win both of their remaining group games, starting with Costa Rica tonight.
At the same time, they have to improve on their inferior goal difference by beating Costa Rica with a minimum of a 2-0 score line, in order to squeeze through, as the runners-up in the group.
It is definitely not going to be easy for England. But until their elimination and early flight home is confirmed, English players and fans alike, will be living on this very thin thread of hope – that maybe, just maybe, a miracle might take place.
So this equation means that come tonight, you can be sure that everyone supporting England in this year’s world cup will suddenly become massive fans of the Azzurri.
Because if an Italy win doesn’t materialise, England will be out of the world cup tournament in the group stages – for the first time in 56 years. And they will be left with nothing but pride to play for, in their final match against Costa Rica.