by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 19th 2014)
A wretched 1-3 defeat against Costa Rica showed that twice world champions Uruguay desperately needed their Liverpool star and Premier Leagueʼs Player of the Year Luís Suárez Díaz if they were to progress deep into the competition. It was Englandʼs misfortune that not quite fully fit or not Suárez was back to torment them with a brace. Not even Wayne Rooneyʼs first goal in the World Cup Finals could cancel the Suárez effect – Uruguay were and are a different team with Suárez.
With just over five minutes left in the first half Nicolás Lodeiro Benítez passed to Edinson Cavani Gómez on left edge of area. Cavaniʼs chipped cross was superbly headed in to Hartʼs right by Suárez. Uruguay led until 75 minutes. Daniel Sturridge released Glen Johnson on the right wing. Johnsonʼs cross led to a tap-in for Rooney to equal Michael Owen in 4th place for goals scored for England with 40. Only Jimmy Greaves, Gary Lineker and Sir Bobby Charlton are ahead of him.
Suárez broke English hearts with six minutes remaining. Galatasarayʼs Fernando Muslera Micolʼs long kick up-field flicked off Steven Gerrardʼs head into the path of prolific Liverpool team-mate. Suárez lashed it into the top centre of the goal past Joe Hart for the winner. There was no way back for England whose only hope of qualification now is Italy beating Costa Rica and Uruguay while they beat Costa Rica, relying on goal difference to oust both Uruguay and Costa Rica.
With Diego Lugano Moreno injured, Oscar Tábaraez Sclavo handed the captaincy to Atlético de Madridʼs Diego Godín Leal. Godín was rightly booked with less than ten minutes played for deliberate handball to Daniel Sturridgeʼs through ball. Rooneyʼs free-kick cleared the wall, but curled just wide.
Spanish referee Carlos Vellasco Carballo did not cover himself in glory when he failed to show a second yellow to Godín for a blatant arm in Sturridgeʼs throat .– yet another in a growing list of refereeing errors that could have been cleared up by replays, although itʼs hard to see how the referee could have seen enough to give the foul and not the second yellow card that would have ended Godínʼs night.
But that could have been evened up. Gerrardʼs petulant foul on Cristian Rodríguez Barotti got a deserved card, but colour should arguably have been different.
To and Fro
After 15 minutes Phil Jagielkaʼs slip released Rodríguez, but the Atlético de Madrid wingerʼs shot just cleared the bar. Fifteen minutes later Gerrardʼs floating free-kick was just too high for Rooney to get above. Rooneyʼs header hit the crossbar. Ten minutes later Rooneyʼs pass freed Sturridge, but Muslera saved at the expense of a corner.
Suárez nearly doubled Uruguayʼs lead with less than five minutes of the second half played, but Hart clawed it away at his near post. With an hour gone Álvaro Pereira Barragán was accidentally knocked unconscious by a knee in the head. He angrily rejected medical advice and insisted on playing on.
England looked likeliest to grab the win after Rooneyʼs first strike in the World Cup Finals. Leighton Baines gave Sturridge the opportunity to grab his second of the campaign, but Muslera saved well. Suárez capitalised to leave England needing favours and Uruguay in a better position, but possibly needing a favour too. If Costa Rica beat Italy tomorrow the Central Americans – supposed whipping boys of this group will definitely be through to the last sixteen and will face an eliminated England. A draw will also eliminate England and mean that Uruguay would have to beat Italy or rely on a favour from England in the final round of group matches.