OK, let’s get this over with.
Uruguay 2 England 1. Beaten by two goals from half fit but world class striker Luis Suarez. Both defensive errors but also superb technique in the finish.
The players did their best. Not sure they were set up in the right way. The four forwards – Welbeck, Sturridge, Sterling, Rooney – didn’t do enough of their midfield duties, which made the formation a 4-2-4 and left Gerrard and Henderson exposed. The first Uruguay goal came from that.
The substitutions in the second half made things better. Barkley again did well – so why wasn’t he starting? Rooney got the equaliser and that was good to see. He gave everything tonight – England’s best player. Briefly it looked like we could go on and win, but then Uruguay rallied. And scored out of the blue. Big punt from the keeper, poor header from Gerrard, defence all over the place, Suarez lethal.
And that was it. England didn’t really look like they could come back again. Just not good enough. No criticism about effort. These boys gave their all. Just, right now, we’re not good enough. Reality.
So there’s still a chance of going through. If Italy beat both Costa Rica and Uruguay and we beat Costa Rica by a decent margin, we could go through on three points and goal difference. If, if, if. Italy can go through drawing both their remaining games. One draw knocks us out.
Forget it. England are out.
So who to support from now on? Belgium have a largely Premier League team. Holland are good to watch, and they are usually my default second team, but they let themselves down badly in that 2010 final with those brutal tactics. Brazil are the home team and we always love them, Argentina have Messi, Aguero, di Maria et al.
But the team for me is Germany. I love the way they play. Positive, skilful, fast, full of joy. So many fine players: Muller, Lahm, Goetze, Ozil, Kroos, Schweinsteiger…. They combine all the best aspects of European football.
Do it for Europe, boys!