Uruguay 2 England 1: Steven Gerrard blames defeat on lack of experience
England skipper thought Uruguay were there for the taking
Friday 20 June 2014
England captain Steven Gerrard has blamed Thursday's defeat to Uruguay on his side's attempts to push for a later winner and admitted that he would be praying for an Italy win against Costa Rica.
While Wayne Rooney finally scored his first World Cup goal, it did not prove enough as Luis Suarez's goals in each half - the winner coming in the 84th minute - ensured Uruguay were victorious.
"It is such a cruel level," said Gerrard. "You can’t give world class players chances – that’s one thing – and when you’re still in the game you need to be more difficult to beat. That was the disappointing thing for me.
"At 1-1 as a team we sort of went for the second goal and maybe we should have been more experienced and gone for the draw. It is a big learning curve today. 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.
"It is frustrating. Looking at the two games and how we performed, we sort of deserved something out of either one of them if not both of them. I don’t think I’m standing here saying we were poor in both games and our game-plan was wrong.
"I just thought when we got the equaliser today we just needed to be a bit more clever, a bit more cute and a bit more difficult to beat. Maybe we should accept that going for a point might have been the best option. But they were weak at the back and they were there for the taking. Once we got the equaliser we tried to use the initiative to get the second."
Both Uruguay goals were aided by some remarkably poor England defending, with Gerrard himself culpable for both of them.
"They were sloppy goals and we have to take responsibility for that as a team," said the England captain. "The first one he’s peeled off onto the back-post and it’s a fantastic ball by Cavani.
"The second one, I’ve gone to try and get good contact on the ball and I haven’t good enough contact on it and I’ve been punished for it."
The defeat sees England teetering on the edge of World Cup elimination, and the first time they have been knocked out in the group stages since 1958.
However Gerrard does not want to launch a complete post-mortem until England are definitely out of the tournament.
"I need to park the hurt and see what happens over the next four or five days,' said Gerrard. 'If we go out in the group stage it will be a very personal low for myself and the team and I am sure everyone will feel very similar.
"Who knows? Italy are a fantastic team and capable of winning both games but we’re clutching at straws. The position we’re in is the position we didn’t want to be in coming into the tournament, relying on other people's results. It’s very difficult at the moment.
"We’ll have to wait and see what happens. The manager will have to wait and see what happens before deciding what he is going to do against Costa Rica. If there’s nothing to play for then I don’t know if he’ll play a completely different team."
As for England's conqueror Luis Suarez? Having captained him all season, Gerrard was quick to stress that little about the Uruguayan amazed him anymore.
"It was no surprise," said Gerrard. "Everyone in the dressing room knows Luis Suarez inside out. We know what he's about. He's had two chances in the game and he's taken them both really well. That just goes to show. He hasn't played for five weeks and yet he comes back and is still as deadly as ever."
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