Five lessons learned as England crash to 2-1 Uruguay defeat

England are bottom of Group D after losing to 2-1 Uruguay, with both goals coming courtesy of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

Oh England.

For the second straight game Roy Hodgson's boys were marginally undone, and now stand on the brink of World Cup elimination. The poison in the punch was that it was Premier League top scorer Luis Suarez, in his first game since keyhole surgery on his knee, that did the damage, scoring both Uruguay goals in a 2-1 defeat.

Below are five observations from the match:

Midfield woefully underpar

There was so little to write home about from the English midfield, with captain Steven Gerrard and club teammate Jordan Henderson offering little creativity and attacking threat. Sterling, so impressive against Italy, was much less of a danger against Uruguay, and Welbeck on the other wing offered little more than someone with a bit of pace closing people down. It's a long way off former World Cup midfields, where the English side had some of Europe's best, with goal threat from each and every one.

Gerrard looks a long way off his former self

If Rooney has taken away much of the criticism from his teammates in the press and public eye, then Steven Gerrard is one player who should be grateful. In England's two matches he has looked a shadow of the player he once was. Dropping deep alongside Henderson, he has lacked his normal passing range to spread the ball to England's attacking players, and has failed in his secondary role of protecting his defence. That he inadvertently set up Suarez for the winner was of course an unfortunate mistake, but there were few moments when the Liverpool captain had a positive effect on proceedings.

Rooney's the best England have

The sad fact is that, other than Rooney and perhaps Daniel Sturridge, there are no England players that would get anywhere near the best sides in the world. A lot was expected of Raheem Sterling, and he will surely develop into a top player, but it shows how little depth England have if the country are pinning all their hopes on a 19-year-old. Rooney was the best English player against Uruguay, playing in a more natural position, yet the difference between him and Suarez was clear - the Uruguayan, barely fit, scored two and was the match winner, Rooney's two big chances were much easier yet he only managed to net one. The United forward is England's best, but that is still some way short of true world class.

England’s defensive frailties were exposed

The defensive pairing of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka was vaunted before the tournament started, on account of them never having lost a game for England when they played together. In Brazil, they've looked very suspect, lacking someone with the positional nous and experience of the likes of John Terry or Rio Ferdinand. To make matters worse, Leighton Baines has proved himself undeserving of England's left back spot, and to think there is a player as strong as Ashley Cole going to waste.

England can still qualify...

Despite two losses from their opening two games, England can still qualify. If Italy run away with the group, winning both their remaining games, and England beat Costa Rica, it will come down to goal difference on who goes through. If that were to happen, England should be ahead of Uruguay in this category, while they will be hoping for a swing in their favour against the Costa Ricans, with the Central American side currently 4 goals better off than the English. It's all rather hopeful, and fairly unlikely considering Italy may have qualified by the time they face Uruguay, but the chance is still there, even if Roy Hodgson's men don't necessarily deserve it.

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