England vs Uruguay World Cup 2014: Roy Hodgson concedes chance of progression is 'unbelievably slim'

England require a minor miracle to reach second round after defeat

Sao Paulo

England manager Roy Hodgson said tonight that the nation’s chances of continuing in the World Cup are “unbelievably slim” and would say only that his team had shown “some elements of playing good football” in the tournament.

Hodgson’s looked desperately downbeat after the 2-1 defeat to Uruguay and had no answers to one of the fundamental failings which has put England on the brink of an exit – dismal defending. England knew that Luis Suarez was the danger man but were as incapable of dealing with him as they were Mario Balotelli against Italy on Saturday.

Asked where England go from here, Hodgson replied: “Where does it leave us? I don't know [where we are as a country.] I don't know what you want me to say. I think in both the games we've shown some elements of playing good football, and shown we are a team that's making progress. But results decide everything and both results have been negative.”

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Suarez’s first goal came when Phil Jagielka lost sight of Suarez, who escaped behind him to receive Edinson Cavani’s lofted pass and head home. “For Suarez to score … I don't know what I can say in relation to our defending in that respect,” Hodgson said.  He implied that England had been unfortunate to have lost possession in midfield, leading to the goal. “We had two players, or three players, around the ball in midfield and the ball rebounded off the shins off one of our players to give Cavani the chance to put a good cross in.”

But Hodgson admitted the key to the second goal had been Steven Gerrard allowing Suarez the “flick” that allowed him race through, split Jagielka and Gary Cahill and score. Of that goal, Hodgson said: “That one was an unfortunate flick from Steven Gerrard to put him free for the goalkeeper. He doesn't miss from them. To make certain, you don't allow him the flick to put him through on the goalkeeper.”

To the question of whether England were outplayed, Hodgson replied flatly: “No, I don't think we were.” Though England can survive to the knock-out stage if Italy beat Costa Roca today and then Italy, and England defeat the Costa Ricans by enough goals to take them ahead of Uruguay.

“[For us] It will depend on Italy winning their next two matches by a good number of goals, and us beating Costa Rica by the requisite number of goals,” he said. “To be in with a chance of continuing we really needed a result today, a draw or a victory, and we didn't get it.”

The manager’s press conference ended with him being asked about which other countries might win it. “It's too early to say,” he said. “We know from history that, when the World Cup is played in South America, it's normally a South American team that wins. There'll be some good football to come from European teams from the games we'll still see. South American teams have started well.”

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