• World Cup

Ferdinand hits out at 'schoolboy' defending

ESPN staff
June 20, 2014
England are incomplete

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand claims England's defending in their disappointing defeat by Uruguay was a schoolboy's nightmare.

Roy Hodgson's team have been eliminated from the World Cup at the group stage for the first time since 1958 after two goals from Luis Suarez left them pointless from their first two games in Brazil.

The Liverpool's striker's impressive finishes have earned him widespread praise - although it was begrudging from Hodgson - but the time and space he was allowed to execute them led Alan Shearer, another former England captain, to claim the defending would have embarrassed the manager of a park team.

Ferdinand told the BBC: "The defending was nightmarish, especially for Uruguay's second goal. It came from just a straight ball up the pitch from the goalkeeper and it was schoolboy-ish from England's point of view. You cannot let that happen at a World Cup.

"In that situation, I am either dropping off and making sure there are no opposition players between me and the goalkeeper, or I am going to attack the ball and win it.

"Phil Jagielka is left in no-man's land because he does neither when the ball flicks of Steven Gerrard's head and Suarez runs on to it. If you are caught in the middle there is no chance of recovery, which is why Jagielka got punished.

"The most disappointing thing was that it felt like a step backwards after the Italy game. This time, England were a little bit subdued."

Hodgson's side were praised for their attacking after their opening Group D defeat by Italy but were exposed by Mario Balotelli in that game and, even more so, by Suarez.

"I did not see many positives in that performance, apart from maybe Wayne Rooney's first goal at a World Cup finals," said BBC pundit Shearer. "The huge concern was the way we defended for the goals we conceded.

"For the first goal, Glen Johnson has got to stop Edinson Cavani's cross but Suarez was free and running straight down the middle to meet it. Once Suarez can see Jagielka's back and his shirt number then the England defender is in trouble because he cannot see him.

"For the second goal, if that happened on a Sunday morning in the park then the manager on the sidelines would be disappointed. Again it was some finish by Suarez, though."

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