England took on Uruguay in Sao Paulo today in a World Cup Group D match-up of two teams that both lost their opening matches. The match was a must win for both sides, as a loss would essentially eliminate the teams from advancing to the knockout round.
At kickoff the teams were both up for it, but seemed cagey at first. England started with a 4-2-3-1 again as they did against Italy, but this time Wayne Rooney was lined up in the center of the pitch rather than out wide. Chelsea’s central defender Gary Cahill started alongside Everton captain Phil Jagielka for their second consecutive start in the World Cup. Cahill had a solid start to the match, distributing the ball well from the back and linking up well with Glen Johnson and Raheem Sterling along the right side. Cahill won all eight clearances and three aerial duels in the first half, as well as completed all his passes, but despite his best efforts the England defense conceded another goal.
On the 38th minute. England captain Steven Gerrard poorly marked Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani, who found Luis Suarez with a perfect cross. Jagielka did not pick up Suarez’s run in time and the Liverpool forward headed a well taken ball past Joe Hart for the lead.
In the second half England began to press more, searching for goals to increase their chances of advancing to the World Cup round of 16. In the 75th minute, after a great run from Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson, a good ball into the box found Wayne Rooney unmarked for an easy goal, his first for England at a World Cup. Inspired by that goal, the Three Lions pressed onward and seemed to be the better side for a while, controlling the temp and creating chances, and yet there was some unease that Suarez and Uruguay would find a winner as well.
In the 85th minute, Suarez started a diagonal run behind the England defense, Cahill and Jagielka stepped up, leaving the forward unmarked but offside, however the aerial ball, which was intended for Edinson Cavani, was actually headed backward by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard right over the head of Cahill and into the path of the oncoming and unmarked Suarez. Despite his best attempts to get back, Cahill could not get in front of Suarez and the enigmatic forward fired a rocket past Joe Hart, sealing the win for Uruguay and breaking England’s hearts once again.
Again, in the center of defense Cahill looked good for England. He played well with Jagielka (whose mistake today cost England their first goal) and linked up well with Johnson as he attacked down the wings. Overall however, Uruguay seemed to be much better than England. England’s small mistakes cost them the match and will make it extremely difficult for them to advance to the next round of the World Cup.