England and Uruguay both began nervously in yesterday's crucial Group D encounter.
England though were clearly the more nervous of the two and vulnerable, particularly in defence. Their build-up from the back was poor, and their wing backs Leighton Baines and Glen Johnson contributed close to nothing when it came to supporting their midfield or even the forwards for that matter, let alone being able to build up an attack on their own.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart looked a bundle of nerves too, and finally even their forwardline — Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Danny Welbeck — didn’t exactly seem to possess the fire in their belly.
England's Joe Hart. Pic/AP/PTI.
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez took advantage of just this and scored not once, but twice to decimate the Englishmen. His first strike in the 39th minute was from close range, but his second summed up England’s World Cup campaign. On both occasions the English defence was hopelessly ball-watching.
Five minutes from the final whistle, a long ball from the Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera found England captain Steven Gerrard out of place, back-peddling, and back-heading the ball to his Liverpool teammate Suarez. And the Uruguayan, who was in a wheelchair until two months ago due to a serious knee injury, slammed the ball past Hart. Rooney’s goal in between couldn’t help improve England’s worst ever World Cup show.
The writer is a former India vice-captain and striker.