Date: 20th June 2014 at 9:14am
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A double from Reds striker Luis Suarez, in a game that featured eight Liverpool players, has all but eliminated England from the World Cup…

England slipped to a second successive 2-1 defeat at the World Cup in Brazil last night to leave Roy Hodgson’s men needing a miracle to advance to the knockout stages.

In a similar contest to Saturday’s loss to Italy, the Three Lions showed plenty of promise going forward but were undone by sloppiness at the back and poor game management.

Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, who started despite a knee injury which had initially jeopardised his participation in the whole tournament, opened the scoring in the 39th minute with a close-range header.

England had notable chances throughout the contest with Wayne Rooney spurning the best two before finally registering his first ever World Cup goal with 15 minutes remaining.

The Manchester United man’s tap-in owed everything to England’s Liverpool contingent after an excellent move involving Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and Glen Johnson.

All four Reds had started the game, alongside Anfield colleague Raheem Sterling, but they, and everyone connected with the nation, were left devastated as a route-one goal, which came against the run of play, gave Uruguay an 85th minute winner.

A hopeful punt up field by keeper Fernando Muslera flicked off the head of Gerrard and caught both Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka napping as Suarez latched onto the ball and riffled home.

Speaking after the game, the emotional striker reflected: “It has been like a dream.

“It is something I have dreamt about very often. It was one of the best games I’ve played.

“It’s an amazing moment for me. Maybe a few days ago I thought this wouldn’t be possible.”

A dejected Gerrard, who is expected to retire from international duty after the tournament, blamed a lack of experience for the result.

“It is a big learning curve today,” commented the 34-year-old midfielder. “It`s very tough at this moment.

“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. It`s a really tough moment for everyone in the dressing room but we need to be professional, keep fighting and pray for that score-line to go for us…

“Looking at the two games and how we performed, we sort of deserved something out of at least one of them if not both.”

Uruguay move level with Italy and Costa Rica in Group D on three points but England, who remain on zero, still have a slim chance of progressing if they can beat Costa Rica in their final game on Tuesday and Italy beat both Costa Rica and Uruguay in their remaining two fixtures.

England’s likely elimination will follow that of reigning champions Spain, for whom Pepe Reina was part of a squad that lost consecutive games to Holland and Chile.

Earlier on Thursday, Kop defender Kolo Toure was an unused substitute as the Ivory Coast slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Columbia at the Estadio Nacional.

Elsewhere, fellow Anfield defender Mamadou Sakho is expected to retain his place, following an impressive 3-0 opening game win over Honduras, when France meet neighbours Switzerland this evening.

Liverpool’s other representative at the finals, Belgium’s Simon Mignolet, will be hoping to feature on Sunday against Russia but is unlikely to usurp first choice shot stopper Thibaut Courtois from between the sticks.

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