Gerrard left frustrated

Steven Gerrard was left devastated and frustrated by the manner of England’s defeat to Uruguay on Thursday night – and admits it will now take a minor miracle for England to progress to the last 16 in Brazil.

Having gone a goal down in Sao Paulo to a header from his Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez, England needed a positive response after the break.

And, following a number of good opportunities, Wayne Rooney finally pulled Roy Hodgson’s men level with 15 minutes remaining. 

Sensing victory, they went looking for a winner.

Uruguay 2-1 England

FIFA World Cup 2014
Group D
Arena de Sao Paulo
Thursday 19 June 2014

However, it was a long punt forward from Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera that undone England – as Suarez latched on to the kick and smashed home to grab the victory with five minutes left.

“It is frustrating,” said the Gerrard. 

“We never managed the game well enough when we got the equaliser. We can’t give chances to Luis Suarez because he buries them from that position.

“I just thought when we got the equaliser today we just needed to be a bit more clever, a bit more cute and a bit more difficult to beat.

“Maybe we should have accepted that going for a point might have been the best option. But they were weak at the back and they were there for the taking.

“Once we got the equaliser we tried to use the initiative to get the second.”

Gerrard continued: “It is a big learning curve today. We will analyse the game after it is simple really.

“You can’t give world class players chances – that’s one thing – and when you are still in the game you need to be more difficult to beat and that was the disappointing thing for me.

“At 1-1, as a team, we went for the second goal and maybe we should have been more experienced and gone for the draw.”

Luis Suarez consoles Steven Gerrard at full time.

Suarez consoles Liverpool team-mate Gerrard at full-time

Suarez has been a menace to English defences all season as he ended the domestic campaign as the Premier League top scorer and picked up the PFA and FWA Player of the Year awards.

Having sat out Uruguay’s opening defeat, he returned to Oscar Tabarez’s starting line-up with devastating effect, which came as no suprise to Gerrard.

But he admits England should have done better defensively to prevent both goals.

“Everyone in the dressing room knows Luis Suarez inside out. We know what he’s about,” said Gerrard.

“He’s had two chances in the game and he’s taken them both really well. He hasn’t played for five weeks and yet he comes back and is still as deadly as ever.”

He added: “They were sloppy goals and we have to take responsibility for that as a team.

“The first one he’s peeled off onto the back post, it’s a fantastic ball by Cavani. We’ll have to look at that and see what’s what.

“The second one, I’ve gone to try and get good contact on the ball and I haven’t got good enough contact on it and I’ve been punished for it.”

Steven Gerrard, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines leave the pitch after defeat against Uruguay.

Dejection for Gerrard, Baines and Jagielka

England are now sweating on the result from Friday’s game between Italy and Costa Rica. A draw will send the Three Lions home, but a victory for the Azzurri will mean that there is still a glimmer of hope.

It would also rely on England beating Costa Rica in their final Group D match next Tuesday, as well as Italy securing another victory against Uruguay in Natal.

And Gerrard says they did not want to have to rely on other teams to help them out.

“Who knows what will happen at the moment. Italy are a fantastic team and capable of winning both games but we’re clutching at straws.

“The position we’re in is the position we didn’t want to be in coming into the tournament, relying on other people’s results. It’s very difficult at the moment.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens in [the Italy-Costa Rica] fixture. The manager will have to wait and see what happens before deciding what he is going to do.”