England undone by all too familiar foe in Luis Suarez
Liverpool striker scores one in each half, either side of Wayne Rooney’s first World Cup goal
The Uruguayans, on the other hand, looked like a side transformed from the weary looking outfit that tamely slumped to defeat against Costa Rica with Alvaro Pereira and Nicolas Lodeiro helping the energy and urgency. Generally, though, the only time they looked significantly better than their opponents was when they were sweeping forward in the direction of Edinson Cavani and particularly Suarez.
The PSG striker looked far more effective here, sitting slightly off his team mate and drawing opponents towards him when he received the ball: There must have been four within a few yards when he set up the goal but his control was brilliant as he unsettled them all, delaying his cross then finding Suarez who had stolen away from Jagielka to head back across and beyond Hart.
The origins of the goal had been in midfield where Gerrard allowed Lodeiro to push past him with the ball far too easily. Even before his role in the late goal, it was another disappointing night for England skipper who contributed little other than the odd decent setpiece and who looked second best here even to his Liverpool team mate Jordan Henderson.
With more than half of the game still to play there was plainly still time for England to save themselves and after a couple of early second half scares, one of them a Suarez corner that nearly caught Hart out completely by curling directly in, they began to take the game a little more effectively to the South Americans who were, in any case, happy enough it seemed to dig in a little deeper.
Still they struggled to carve out clearcut chances and by far the best was squandered when 10 minutes into the second period Sturridge fired pointlessly at the goalkeeper just as Rooney looked to have an edge in the centre on either of the nearest two defenders.
The striker did rather better for the equaliser, taking three opponents out of the play before releasing Glen Johnson down the right. The full-back cut in towards the area and as Martin Caceres sought to close him down he sent in a low cross for Rooney who, having left Alvaro Gonzalez completely standing this time, simply had to side-foot home to bag his first ever goal at a World Cup finals.
In the minutes that followed England looked as they might steal it and the Uruguayans were clearly rattled. Then, six minutes from time, almost out of nothing the Premier League’s Player of the Season sent them to the brink of elimination. Gerrard, who had described him as a genius on Wednesday night, was left looking a fool by comparison, with the midfielder inadvertently helping the striker with a headed touch to a long kick out that sent him racing clear down the right hand of the box from where, Gerrard must already have known, there was only going to be one outcome.