FIFA World Cup: Whatever happened to you, Steven Gerrard?

Kashinath BhattacharjeeEngland played their first World Cup in Brazil in 1950. They started with a win against Chile (2-0) and lost the remaining two matches against the USA and Spain by an identical 1-0 margin.

England has begun another World Cup campaigning in Brazil with identical defeats of 2-1 to Italy and Uruguay, respectively. Costa Rica awaits them in the last match. They can win and still be eliminated. Sixty four years on, English football remains the same!

Ineffective English style
The late Stanley Matthews, probably one of the finest of English footballers, who was a late entry into the 1950 World Cup squad, wrote in his autobiography The Way it Was: “It was evident from watching Brazil and later in the tournament, Uruguay, that many of the competing teams had made tremendous progress in footballing terms. In England, teams love to attack but in comparison to the Brazilians, our style came across as hell-for-leather running and chasing.”

Steven Gerrard
Hard Luck, Skipper: Uruguay's Luis Suarez (right) consoles England captain and his Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard. Pic/AFP.

At the Arena do Sao Paulo, Itaquera on Thursday evening, as the Uruguayans pressed hard, England lost control of the ball easily — the ‘hell-for-leather running and chasing’ became a certainty once again!

The press-tribune situated at the ninth floor, could see the ball scaling huge heights sometimes! Ironically, the second goal they suffered was an ideal “English” goal, too, when Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera’s shot found its way through the English captain Steven Gerrard to Suarez.

Gerrard beaten
Before that Lodeiro began his amazing build-up run from the midfield beating Gerrard first to pass it to Cavani for his delightful chip to Suarez for the first goal.

Yes, Stevie G is a Liverpool legend, no doubt. But he has failed to do well in an English shirt. Not only him. His friend and another legend in club football for Chelsea, Frank Lampard, is similar. Why Frankie and Stevie G could never play for England in the same dominating way they played for their respective clubs is one of the biggest mysteries in English football. Lampard was not even a part of the playing squad against Uruguay.

Low for Lampard
Roy Hodgson might allow Lampard a last chance to rock the World Cup stage against Costa Rica. Like Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso of Spain, the English pair of Gerrard-Lampard, too, will have to bid a sad goodbye to the World Cup if Italy fails to beat Uruguay on June 24.

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