World Cup 2014 – Group D: Uruguay vs England Match Report

20 Jun

Uruguay-Vs-England (3)

This was a bustling game from the start with counter after counter after counter after counter. Whew. I felt like I was running it with them.

For all the actual running the players did and the plethora of chances, I expected the score to turn out higher than 2-1. It wasn’t like the teams didn’t try; they certainly, certainly did.

England fielded the same starting 11 from their game vs Italy, with their attack once again centred around Liverpool players Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling, and Sturridge. Uruguay eagerly welcomed fellow Red Luis Suárez back into their attack line. This game wasn’t going to be so much about Uruguay vs England as it was about Suárez vs Liverpool.

Interesting fact: This game was also a match-up between the second and third oldest coaches at the World Cup. Tabárez is 67 years, 3 months old and Hodgson is 66 years, 10 months. And they don’t look at day over 65. I kid, I kid!

Uruguay: Suárez 39’; Suárez 85’

England: Rooney 75’

Lineups

Uruguay: Cavani, Muslera, A Pereira, Cáceres, Giménez, Godín (C), Rodríguez, Lodeiro, González, Ríos, Suárez

England: Sturridge, Welbeck, Jagielka, Hart, Henderson, Cahill, Johnson, Gerrard (C), Rooney, Baines, Sterling

FIFA Man of the Match: Suárez, URU

HB&HB Headband of the Match: Cavani, URU

Pre-Game

Three Lions! (I’m sweating just looking at this)

Dr Seuss!

Sparta!

Selfie!

Stevie!

First Half

Robust national anthem sing alongs (from Uruguay anyway), greetings, handshakes, gift exchanges and it was on.

Sturridge powered up right away, almost getting through via a Baines pass and a Muslera fumble. Uruguay came back with two corner kicks taken by Suárez.

Lodeiro picked up the first yellow card of the game at 7′, handily taking out Sterling in the midfield. Then Suárez, on the chase, knocked over Gerrard in the midfield. There will be no photos of that, thank you very much. In his best Lugano impression, Godín picked up a yellow card two minutes later by stopping a Sturridge / Rooney attack with a handball.

Is it a requirement for Uruguay’s captain to have at least one handball per game?

Rooney stepped up to take the resulting free kick just outside the box, and…

…oh so close! Muslera didn’t even move.

Hart thought he’d show off his tumbling moves at this point, providing us with a fantastic Neuer-esque impression.

A poor play by Jagielka at 15′ resulted in Uruguay grabbing the ball and sending it up to Rodríguez who:

Think Sturridge heard it whistle by?

Again, oh so close!

For all the chances both teams had neither could nail down their pass or strike accuracy. Case in point, Cavani followed Rodríguez’ lead and powered a shot into the stands off a pretty pass from Suárez at ’27. Yup.

Godín was counting his blessings a couple minutes later for not receiving a second yellow after a silly block on Sturridge. He was counting the crossbar’s blessings next when Gerrard sent in a free kick to Uruguay’s back post where Rooney flew in and…

….aahhhh, so cruel! And I’m not just referring to the crossbar. Reactions on twitter from England fans were nasty.

A handful of fouls against both teams happened after that, before Sturridge let a loose ball where? The stands. There sure were some lucky fans at this game. At 39′ Uruguay started a counter with the ball passed up to Cavani who waited then dinked a beauty of a cross to Suárez and…GOAL!

England came right back, as they do, with Sturridge fed through by Rooney. But the angle was too tight and Muslera was able to push away. England won three or four (a bunch) of corners after that but couldn’t get the equalizer.

Second Half

The second half started a bit slow, by which I mean Uruguay won a corner and Suárez nearly beat Hart at the front post with the kick. Lodeira then teed-up Cavani who went one-on-one with Hart but shot the ball wide. Like I said earlier, they did try to score a lot.

Rooney got another chance at 53′ at point blank range, and…

Maybe the curse is real?

…oh so close again!

A rush by Welbeck at 55′ resulted in a collision with Muslera who went down clutching his knee. Some nervy moments for Uruguay fans, but a couple minutes of physio and Muslera was up and good to go. Know who else was good to go after going down a couple minutes later? Pereira, after being accidentally knocked out by Sterling’s knee.

“Hell no, I’m not going.”

The physios called for an immediate substitution once they saw him out cold but they couldn’t keep him from going back on at the next whistle. Crazy-ass move by all involved.

Hodgson made the first substitution of the game at 64′ with Sterling, who was a feisty menace the whole game, making way for midfielder Barkley. Uruguay brought on forward Stuani for Lodeiro at 67′.

England started to show their frustration at this point, with Gerrard being booked for a late challenge on Rodríguez. England made their second substitution at 71′, sending in midfielder Lallana for Welbeck. There was an amusing little tussle between Sturridge and Pereira, which resulted in Pereira once again showing off his finger wagging skills.

And then…and then…and then…Johnson…Rooney…GOAL! ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNEEEEYYYY!!!!!!!

Curse. Broken. In a brilliant fashion.

Second substitution for Uruguay came at 79′, with Fucile swapped out for González. England had the momentum now with Rooney’s goal and kept pushing forward. Sturridge had a couple good chances but Muslera was there to stop each one. Then what looked like a routine header for Gerrard at 85′ went horribly wrong. He misjudged the angle, sent the ball unfortunately backwards where poacher Suárez was waiting and..GOAL!

A bit too excited after that, Giménez took out Rooney with a bad challenge near the corner flag. England brought on forward Lambert for Henderson to chase the equalizer at ’87. Suarez went down with a cramp and was subbed off for Coates at ’88.

For the second straight match, the five minutes of extra time were not England’s friends. Barkley had a good chance but took one touch too many and Uruguay were able to clear.

Full-time whistle. 3 points to Uruguay!

Uruguay put in a decent performance, and were obviously buoyed by Suárez. Cáceres was effective at shutting down Rooney and Sturridge with Pereira doing the same with Sterling. The team weren’t overwhelming good but they were good enough and lucky enough to get the win.

For England, well, this was tough. They too were not overwhelming good but they certainly were not poor. They had lots of chances but luck was just not on their side. Their defense was shaky again, with Jagielka and Baines not looking particularly uncomfortable. Cahill put in a strong performance (again) but one man alone cannot stop every attack. Couldn’t help but feel leaving Ashley Cole back home was a mistake as they needed more experience.

Gerrard, well, first Chelsea, now Uruguay. As Suárez said after the game, “I told him to keep going. He’s the best player I’ve played with on the pitch. This is an unlucky moment for him. I don’t like it when he hurts like this. I said ‘Keep going, forget this game, you’re one of the best’.” Truth.

And you have to be happy for Rooney, who finally scored in a World Cup. Yes, you do. He didn’t recede and sulk after all the misses. He kept going and he deserved the goal. He really, really, really did.

Obrigado!

– hopechaser (twitter: hopechaser11)

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