WORLD CUP: England teetering on brink of crashing out

England's Wayne Rooney (left), Daniel Sturridge (centre) and Steven Gerrard stand dejected after Luis Suarez scoring  Uruguay's first goal

England's Wayne Rooney (left), Daniel Sturridge (centre) and Steven Gerrard stand dejected after Luis Suarez scoring Uruguay's first goal

First published in Headlines

Uruguay 2

(Suarez 39, 84)

England 1

(Rooney 75)

England stand on the brink of an early World Cup exit after Luis Suarez blew Roy Hodgson's men away with a deadly double in Sao Paulo.

Wayne Rooney thought he had snatched a draw for England after he equalised Suarez's opener in the first half.

But with five minutes left on the clock Steven Gerrard accidentally put the controversial Liverpool striker through and he beat Joe Hart to give the Uruguayans a 2-1 win.

Only a minor miracle will keep England in the tournament now.

If Costa Rica and Italy draw on Friday afternoon, or the Central Americans beat Cesare Prandelli's team, England will be eliminated with one match to spare.

If Italy won both their remaining games, Uruguay, Costa Rica and England will be tied for second spot, provided that Hodgson's men win their final match.

That seems unlikely after the defensive performance shown here on Thursday night.

No team in World Cup history has gone through after two defeats, so England might as well start thinking about going home after next Tuesday's game in Belo Horizonte against Costa Rica.

England showed promise in their first match against Italy, but in Sao Paulo they came up against a rigid and bruising Uruguay defence.

They had their chances to take something from the game. Rooney hit the bar and went close with a brilliant free-kick in the first half.

But once again, the attack cannot be blamed for the result.

England's defence was poor. They always looked susceptible to pace and Suarez, despite being half-fit, caused them problems all night.

Oxford Mail:

Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates on the touchline after scoring his side's first goal

Suarez played up to the role of the role of pantomime villain from the beginning of the evening, winking at his Liverpool team-mate Gerrard in the tunnel.

His first touch was greeted by loud boos from the 8,000 England fans sporting red and white in the far corner of the stadium.

Those supporters were made to endure a nerve-jangling opening 10 minutes as England started on the back foot.

Suarez's cross deflected off Gary Cahill's head and Hart almost spilled the ball into his own net, before the England goalkeeper nervously palmed away a Suarez corner.

It was not the start England wanted.

The pressure lifted for a moment when Diego Godin was booked for punching Daniel Sturridge's through-ball.

Rooney steadied himself and bent the resulting free-kick over the wall and narrowly wide of Fernando Muslera's goal.

Uruguay soon had England rattled again.

Phil Jagielka made a real hash of his clearance and the ball fell to Cristian Rodriguez, who belted a left-foot drive that flew an inch over.

Gary Cahill soon followed suit, making another poor clearance, but once again Uruguay could not capitalise.

A concerned Hodgson came to the edge of his technical area to bark orders to his players. It had little effect though as Uruguay continued piling on the pressure.

Cahill had to put in a last-ditch tackle to deny Edinson Cavani and the Paris St Germain man then clipped a shot just over the bar.

Godin was lucky to stay on the pitch when his outstretched arm hit Sturridge in the neck.

Then came Rooney's big chance of the first half. The striker connected with Gerrard's free-kick just under the goal frame, but his header struck the frame and bounced out.

Then, seven minutes before the break, Suarez struck.

Gerrard lost the ball on the halfway line while England had men upfield and Uruguay hit on the counter. Glen Johnson gave Cavani enough time and space to curl a peach of a cross that looped over Cahill's head and Suarez did the rest.

The Liverpool striker wheeled away before being mobbed by his team-mates.

England's defence again switched off after the break, allowing Cavani through, but luckily for the Three Lions, he shot wide.

Rooney found space in the box at the other end of the pitch, but he could only fire at Muslera. It was as if he was destined to never score a World Cup goal.

Gerrard's emotions got the better of him as he clattered into Rodriguez to earn a booking.

Hodgson brought on Ross Barkley, who immediately injected some life into the England midfield.

Sturridge, Johnson and Barkley all entered the box, but nothing was working for England - until Johnson went on a run down the right flank.

Oxford Mail:

Wayne Rooney equalises for England

Johnson, who had been poor all night, took one player on and slipped the ball through the legs of Alvaro Gonzalez to Rooney, who prodded home.

Hodgson leapt up in celebration and Rooney looked to the skies. Finally the monkey was off the Manchester United striker's back. Finally England could breathe again.

England went for the kill. Sturridge broke into the box and was knocked to the floor by Alvaro Pereira, but the referee waved play on.

But with five minutes left Suarez struck the killer blow.

Oxford Mail:

Luis Suarez smashes home Uruguay's second goal

Gerrard mistakenly flicked on a long punt and Suarez drove a low ball past Hart.

England threw everything they had at Uruguay - Hart even came up for a corner - but nothing worked and Suarez was held aloft by his jubilant team-mates at the final whistle.

Brian Howard's future at Oxford United up in the air

Oxford Mail:

2:00pm Friday 19th December 2014

BRIAN Howard’s situation at Oxford United is unclear after head coach Michael Appleton admitted he did not know whether the midfielder would be offered an extension to his short-term contract.

Piri Weepu returns to London Welsh starting line, but will play at fly half

Oxford Mail: London Welsh are staying at the Kassam

12:33pm Friday 19th December 2014

PIRI Weepu returns to the London Welsh starting line-up for tomorrow's Aviva Premiership fixture with Saracens at Allianz Park (KO 3pm).

Ashby's Oxford United debut is a matter of timing - Appleton

Oxford Mail:

12:00pm Friday 19th December 2014

JOSH Ashby is good enough to play in Oxford United’s side right now, but the teenager knows his time will come, according to head coach Michael Appleton.

Worried Hartlepool boss compares Oxford United to Real Madrid after scouting trip

Oxford Mail:

9:40am Friday 19th December 2014

RONNIE Moore is braced for a tough first game in charge of Hartlepool United after comparing opponents Oxford United to Real Madrid.

Oxford United striker John Campbell is keen to make his mark at Hartlepool

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 19th December 2014

John Campbell admits it would be difficult to keep his kit on if he was able to make an impact on debut for Oxford United tomorrow.

Interactive match preview: Appleton and Hylton on goals; Moore likens United to Real Madrid; Howard's future; Ashby; club stalwart departs + video

Oxford Mail:

9:34am Friday 19th December 2014

Get ready for kick-off with our interactive preview of Oxford United's trip to Hartlepool

Barren run in front of goal not affecting Oxford United's top scorer

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Friday 19th December 2014

THERE were times earlier this season when it felt like Danny Hylton was scoring in every game, but Oxford United’s top scorer is not getting weighed down by a sudden barren run in front of goal.

Appleton puts faith in his poachers to improve Oxford United's goal return

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Friday 19th December 2014

FINDING a predator to turn dominance into goals has been an Achilles’ heel for Oxford United this season, but Michael Appleton is hopeful two candidates will emerge over the festive period.

Oxford United lay on three free supporter coaches for Hartlepool trip

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Friday 19th December 2014

ABOUT 150 supporters have taken advantage of Oxford United’s offer of free transport to tomorrow’s game at Hartlepool United.

FOOTBALL: North Leigh boss Mark Gee is wary of Wantage threat

Oxford Mail: North Leigh boss Mark Gee is confident his side will be stronger next season

7:30am Friday 19th December 2014

North Leigh boss Mark Gee admitted he is ‘wary’ of struggling Wantage Town as his side travel to Alfredian Park in Division 1 South & West of the Evo-Stik Southern League tomorrow, writes Matthew Bruce.

Comments (1)

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1:16am Fri 20 Jun 14

rogerjwise says...

England fans out in force in Bicester tonight,I wonder when the last time a community sports club was closed in Uruguay.
The commitment and passion of the players from Uruguay was exceptional.
That the new spirit you should only be interested in gaining wealth,forgetting your relationship with other people.
England fans out in force in Bicester tonight,I wonder when the last time a community sports club was closed in Uruguay. The commitment and passion of the players from Uruguay was exceptional. That the new spirit you should only be interested in gaining wealth,forgetting your relationship with other people. rogerjwise
  • Score: 1

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