A second loss in as many Group D World Cup matches leave England treading on thin ice heading into their final game against Costa Rica, which could be their last of the tournament after Thursday’s defeat to Uruguay.
England were dealt a bitter blow on Thursday night after a brace from Luis Suarez comdemned them to a 2-1 defeat, despite Wayne Rooney’s 75th-minute equaliser giving them hope.
England could still make the last 16 the hard way however. For this to happen, Italy must beat Costa Rica on Friday and then defeat Uruguay, while England must beat Costa Rica on Tuesday 24 June and by a significant enough goal difference.
Statistics read that no World Cup team has ever escaped the group stages from England’s current position, although Paddy Power’s 13/1 odds to progress to the last 16 say it is the best opportunity yet.
Despite being on the brink of an early exit, England manager Roy Hodgson said the blows won’t affect his position.
“I don’t have any intention to resign,” said Hodgson. “I’ve been really happy with the way the players have responded to the work we’ve done.
“I’m bitterly disappointed, of course, but I don’t feel I need to resign, no. On the other hand, if the FA think I’m not the right man to do the job, that will be their decision not mine.”
Suarez returned from knee surgery to haunt his Liverpool team-mates in Sao Paulo with two crucial goals, and said afterwards that he felt he silenced his critics.
“Before the game, too many people in England laughed about my attitude over the last few years. This is a very good time for me. I want to see what they think now”, said Suarez, who is now 20/1 with Coral to be top scorer of the World Cup.
Suarez sympathised with team-mate Steven Gerrard who miscued a header leading to the deciding goal, adding: “I don’t like it when he hurts like this. I said, ‘Keep going, forget this game, you’re one of the best’. He’s the best player I’ve played with.”
England head into their final Group D game at Belo Horizonte against Costa Rica as 8/15 favourites with Betfred, and the game will be shown live on ITV1 at 5pm kick-off time on Tuesday.