Suarez leaves England on the brink

Luis Suarez celebrates his second goal against England
Luis Suarez celebrates his second goal against England
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Luis Suarez left England staring down the barrel of an early World Cup exit by scoring late during a tense battle in Sao Paulo.

The Liverpool striker was the hero for Uruguay as they beat Roy Hodgson’s men 2-1 in World Cup Group D, netting both his side’s goals including the 85th-minute winner.

Wayne Rooney thought he had snatched a draw for England after he equalised Suarez’s headed opener in the first half with a tap-in from Glen Johnson’s cross.

But with five minutes left on the clock Steven Gerrard accidentally put the controversial Suarez through and he beat Joe Hart to give the Uruguayans a 2-1 win.

Only a minor miracle will keep England in the tournament now.

If Costa Rica and Italy draw this afternoon, or the Central Americans beat Cesare Prandelli’s team, England will be eliminated with one match to spare.

If Italy won both their remaining games, Uruguay, Costa Rica and England will be tied for second spot, provided that Hodgson’s men win their final match.

That seems unlikely after the defensive performance shown here on Thursday night. No team in World Cup history has gone through after two defeats, so England might as well start thinking about going home after next Tuesday’s game against Costa Rica.

England showed promise in their first match against Italy, but in Sao Paulo they came up against a rigid and bruising Uruguay defence.

But they had their chances to take something from the game, notably from Rooney who went close with a brilliant free-kick in the first half.

Once again, the attack cannot be blamed for the result. England’s defence was poor. They always looked susceptible to pace and Suarez, despite being half-fit, caused them problems all night.

Rooney had a far better game than in Manaus and had a header that crashed against the angle of bar and post from point-blank range.

The rest of the team who had impressed against Italy found themselves suffering.

Raheem Sterling buzzed around but showed little composure, while Daniel Sturridge’s touch deserted him, and Gerrard looked off the pace.