• Uruguay 2-1 England, World Cup Group D

Suarez double leaves England on brink of early exit

ESPN staff
June 19, 2014
Luis Suarez blasts home his second goal of the match to seal Uruguay's victory against England © Getty Images

Luis Suarez spent most of the past club season tormenting England defences - he went one further in Sao Paulo by scoring twice in a 2-1 victory for Uruguay that left the England national team on the brink of an early World Cup exit.

When Wayne Rooney struck an equaliser 15 minutes from time, it seemed as though he would be stealing the headlines after finally scoring a goal at a World Cup finals. However, with six minutes to go, Suarez pounced on a misjudgement by his Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard to blast the winner, having put Uruguay in front in the first half.

It means England retain mathematical hopes of progressing to the knockout phase, but a draw between Italy and Costa Rica on Friday would definitely eliminate them, as would a Costa Rica victory. A win for Italy in that match would open the door slightly for England but they would need a generous set of results to become the first team ever to lose their opening two World Cup group matches and still progress.

As widely expected, Rooney moved in to a central role having played wide left in the first match of the competition against Italy, with Raheem Sterling switching out wide. Uruguay, humbled 3-1 by Costa Rica in their opening match, welcomed back Suarez to their starting line-up from the knee injury that kept him out of that match.

There was a scare for England in the fifth minute when Suarez spotted Joe Hart sneaking off his line at a corner and tried to score directly from it, Hart scrambling back to his near post to beat it away.

England earned a free kick on the edge of the Uruguay box when Daniel Sturridge's flick was handled by Diego Godin and Rooney's effort with the dead-ball curled mere centimetres wide of the angle of post and bar. There were anguished "oohs" from the England supporters in the crowd when the shot was replayed on the big screens in the stadium in Sao Paulo. At the other end, Cristian Rodriguez has Uruguay fans gasping with a drive from the edge of the area that flew over Hart by almost the same margin as Rooney's effort.

Wayne Rooney heads against the crossbar from point-blank range in the first half © Getty Images

Suarez was inventive again at a corner midway through the half when he cut it back low to an onrushing Edinson Cavani, who blazed a shot over the bar. Then Rooney contrived to hit the crossbar with a header from around a yard out, prompting huge shouts of "Rooney, Rooney" from the England support.

Six minutes before half-time, Uruguay made the breakthrough and it was inevitable that Suarez would be the protagonist. He drifted away from Phil Jagielka in the centre of England's defence to meet Cavani's perfectly flighted cross and direct a header back across Hart and into the corner of the net.

Neither side made any changes at the interval and it was Suarez who almost caught out Hart again with a whipped low corner that was going straight in had the goalkeeper not scrambled back to parry away. Then when England failed to properly clear another set-piece, it fell to Suarez on the angle of the area but he dragged his shot a long way wide.

Cavani then should have made it 2-0 seven minutes into the second half as a slick interchange of passes set him beyond the back line but he skewed his shot wide with just Hart to beat from six yards.

England were in disarray defensively and desperately needed some positive attacking play to alleviate the pressure. It came when Baines scrambled down the left wing and his low cross eventually fell to Rooney eight yards from goal. With just Fernando Muslera to beat, he shot straight at the Uruguayan goalkeeper who blocked the shot with his legs.

Sterling made way for Ross Barkley with a little under half an hour to go, followed by Adam Lallana replacing Danny Welbeck. Eventually the tide turned, and it was Rooney who applied the finishing touch.

Glen Johnson burst down the right flank and provided a low cross along the six-yard line that Rooney sprinted on to and slipped a composed finish under Muslera. His World Cup duck was broken, he blew a kiss to the sky and England's hopes of progress in the tournament were alive again.

The torture for England fans was complete, however, when Suarez struck six minutes from time. A long ball from the Uruguayan defence skidded off the top of Gerrard's head and fell into the path of his Liverpool team-mate. He burst into the box and - despite being off-balance from a slight stumble - thundered a shot high past Hart. The Player of the Year in England was now England's World Cup nemesis.

Wayne Rooney scores his first ever goal in a World Cup finals tournament but it was not enough to save England from defeat © Getty Images
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