England Bow Out

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 24th 2014)

Changes

Roy Hodgson rang in the changes – nine of them – for the final match of a disappointing World Cup campaign. It ended 0-0 against the supposed whipping boys Costa Rica. Jorge Pinto Alfanadorʼs team ignored the script and won the group by avoiding defeat. Arsenalʼs Joel Campbell Samuels was less impressive than in the previous two matches. Meanwhile, Liverpoolʼs Daniel Sturridge was the focal pint of Englandʼs attack.

Sturridgeʼs first chance was created by Jack Wilshere, but he shot wide twice in just over .the first 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Celso Borges 25 yards out free-kick was finger-tipped onto bar for corner by Ben Foster. England felt that they should have been awarded a spot-kick by Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi after 26 minutes.

The Obdurate Barrier

Wilshereʼs cross was nodded on by Ross Barkley to Sturridge, but Óscar Duarte Gaitán got his leg in front off Sturridgeʼs as the Liverpool striker prepared to shoot. Sturridge went over Duarteʼs leg, but no penalty was given. After 34 minutes Sturridge had another chance. Barkleyʼs corner was nodded on by Phil Jones and Sturridge headed it over.

The half ended with a route one effort from the Central Americans. Levanteʼs goalkeeper Keylor Navas Gamboa booted it 80 yards up the pitch, but Randall Brenes Moya lacked composure and his effort ballooned up into Fosterʼs arms.

Navas performed heroically, taking Sturridgeʼs studs in his leg as he bravely claimed at the strikerʼs feet three minutes into the second half as Luke Shawʼs cross ballooned up into the area. With just under an hour played Adam Lallana was played in behind the defence on the left. He squared it for Sturridge, but Navas intercepted before it could reach Sturridge.

Farewell

Chris Smalling passed to Wilshere who found Sturridge, but the striker missed again from close range and with just over 20 minutes remaining Sturridge was poised to shoot, but an excellent tackle by Miguel Rodríguez Echevaria conceded a corner rather than the penalty some hoped for. Steven Gerrard was brought on for a few minutes – possibly his last appearance for England. His 88th minute cross was just too high for Wayne Rooney.

England could not find a way past Navas, who is enhancing his reputation with each match at this World Cup. Roy Hodgsonʼs hopes of going far in this competition are over. The three lions finished bottom of the group and Italy bid an acrimonious farewell to Brasil after Luis Suárez was accused of biting Giorgio Chielliniʼs shoulder.

There were controversies in Belo Horizonte too. Campbellʼs early shot was clearly deflected by Gary Cahillʼs hand – accidentally – yet the referee gave a goal-kick. The officials a lunge by Raheem Sterling on Gamboa, giving a corner where a card would have been appropriate. Haimoudi also insisted on pulling play back after Gamboa had broken free from Barkleyʼs attempts to swap shirts during play.

While the referee correctly booked Lallana and Giancarlo González for fouls on Bryan Ruiz González and Barkley respectively, the officials made too many mistakes that were easily exposed by replays. There was nothing as controversial as Frank Lampardʼs disallowed goal in this match, but too much is at stake in modern football for mistakes to be tolerated when they are so easy to correct.

Three former World champions Spain, England and Italy failed to make it out of the group stages, while unfancied Costa Rica top the group. Itʼs been an entertaining and strange World Cup so far.

 

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Suárez Brace Sinks England

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 19th 2014)

Heʼs Back

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.

Turning Point

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.

 

Three Lions Given Roaring Send-off to World Cup

ENGLAND World Cup Wembley Warm up: FT Jagielka 69′, 64′ Cahill, 32′ Sturridge ENGLAND 3-0 PERU. Three Lions’ confidence boosting win for BRAZIL

Kick off time at Wembley tonight

by RICHARD IV
@lmenin at the Wembley Stadium
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ENGLAND V PERU FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL
ENGLAND (4-2-3-1)
Joe Hart (Gk)
Glen Johnson, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Leighton Baines:
Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard;
Alan Lallana, Daniel Welbeck, Wayne Rooney;
Daniel Sturridge
Coach: Roy Hodgson
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PERU (4-2-3-1)
Raul Fernandez (Gk)
Christian Ramos, Alberto Rodriguez, Alexander Callens, Yoshimar Yotun;
Luis Advincula, Josepmir Ballon;
Jean Deza, Luis Ramirez, Ronaldo Cruzado;
Andre Carrillo
Coach: Pablo Bengoechea
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WEMBLEY. 15′ In the best stadium in the world is nil – nil so far. Good fresh football by Peru, heavy legs in the England side so far.

Up to the 16′ plenty of chances for the South Americans on the break. On the last one Joe Hart had to quickly and promptly come off his penalty box to intercept a dangerous ball through.
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18′ On the up side for the Three Lions had their wonder chance with Walbeck who just sthoot
wide from wide inside the box.

32′ GOOAAAL for ENGLAND. After the missed chance England kept the pressure on the Peruvian so on a thrown by Glen Johnson almost on the corner kick, Daniel Sturridge let the ball come inside eluding the marker, continued along the 18 yds line and then when at the beginning of the D shape lashed out a bended-dropping ball into the top corner.  The marvelous 87,000 passionate England crowds that filled up the best stadium in the world (Kaiser Franz Beckenbauer’s words) exploded in awe.
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34′. Rooney’s header just above the bar from a Gerrard free kick

44′ Colossal chance for Peru to equalize was Ramirez was freed  in front of Hart who bravely deflected in corner with a leg.

SECOND HALF
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64′ GOALL by ENGLAND. On the a corner kick Cahill after a few struggling with the opponents defenders managed to find himself on a ball dropping just above Welbeck’s head and to drove powerfully into the net.

69′ GOOAL for ENGLANd. Following another corner, the ball came into the hand of the Peru’s goalie who, disturbed by a team mate, lost the ball that dropped just on the path of Phil Jagielka who easily tapped in the empty goal.

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ENGLAND WORLD CUP WEMBLEY WARM UP: HT 32′ STURRIDGE ENGLAND 1-0 PERU KO 20.00

by RICHARD IV

CIMG8636

@lmenin at the Wembley Stadium

WEMBLEY. The best stadium in the world Nil – nil so far. Good fresh football by Peru, heavy legs in the England side so far.

CIMG8632

Up to the 16′ plenty of chances for the South Americans on the break. On the last one Joe Hart had to quickly and promptly come off his penalty box to intercept a dangerous ball through.
18′ On the up side for the Three Lions had their wonder chance with Sturridge who just shot  wide from wide inside the box.

32′ GOOAAAL for ENGLAND. After the missed chance England kept the pressure on the Peruvian so on a thrown by Glen Johnson almost on the corner kick, Daniel Sturridge let the ball come inside eluding the marker, continued along the 18 yds line and then when at the beginning of the D shape lashed out a bended-dropping ball into the top corner. The passionate England crowds that filled up the best stadium in the world (Beckenbauer’s words) exploded in awe.

CIMG8639

34′. Rooney’s header just above the bar from a Gerrard free kick

44 Luis Ramirez of Corinthians has great chance. Joe Hart sticks out a leg and concedes a corner. Great chance.

England lead 1-0 at half time. Peru have silenced a few critics!