IF ENGLAND don’t make it past the World Cup group stage now they can’t have any complaints. You get what you deserve in football and last night they deserved to lose.
Everything they did right against Italy they did wrong against Uruguay. Their passing was poor; they moved the ball too slowly; they took too many touches; they gave up possession cheaply.
The South Americans were no better than Roy Hodgson’s men – their strategy was to grind England down – but they had it easy because the Three Lions just did not play.
Too many were below par. Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge did not perform well enough for this level. Wayne Rooney was by far the best player.
Defending for both Uruguay goals was dismal. In the first, Gerrard misses a tackle before Edinson Cavani is allowed about 15 touches before crossing for Luis Suarez.
For the second, I don’t know why Gary Cahill has not followed Suarez’s run. A centre-back should anticipate the worst-case scenario – Gerrard missing the header – not the best.
England appeared to lack leaders at the back, perhaps missing John Terry and Ashley Cole.
For me, Hodgson’s selection was wrong. I’m not sure why Welbeck, who can’t get in the Manchester United team, still plays – why not Adam Lallana or Ross Barkley. Sterling never got any momentum going; he had his head down and kept having the ball taken off him.
If you’re going to play Welbeck and Sterling then you need the base of the midfield – Gerrard and Henderson – to be really strong, but they completely lacked guile.
Only when Barkley came on did England – and Rooney – start to play. Rooney struggled to play with Henderson, Welbeck and Sterling because they are not good enough.
Trevor Steven is a former England international who played at two World Cups and two European Championships. He now works as a media commentator.