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As the likes of Brazil and Spain have already found out to their costs, there doesn’t seem to be any such thing as “the easy way” at this World Cup finals. Not, of course, that the England national football team has much truck with the concept of such a thing. Where there might smith passage, England will usually find some degree of drama. Where we might expect drama, they will usually contrive to manfacture some sort of crisis, whether real or illusory. The atmosphere surrounding the England team this summer, has been very different to recent years. When they were beaten out of sight by Germany, there was considerable gnashing of teeth, as if such a thing happening should have been some sort of surprise.

It wasn’t, though. It really wasn’t. Since the summer of 2010, however, something has changed within the psyche of the English in terms of their relationship with their national football team. At the European Championships two years ago, ambitions were set at a more realistic level and, frustrating as yet another penalty shoot-out defeat might have been, England got through the group stage of the comeptition and kept Italy out or one hundred and twenty minutes before succumbing to the inevitable. With expectations fully adjusted, even a loss in the opening match has been treated with a somewhat sanguine attitude. England didn’t disgrace themselves in any way on Saturday night, and there were plenty of positives to be taken from their performance against an Italy team that we would expect to see featuring in the latter stages of the competition.

Whether this new new realism would survive defeat or a draw against Uruguay this evening, though, is a somewhat different matter. Defeat would mean elimination from the competition at an all bar mathematical level, and furthermore the English know that their chances of beating Uruguay this evening are considerably greater than perhaps they should be. Uruguay will be without half of what had already looked like a rather pedestrian defence last weekend, with Maxi Pereira suspended for his moment of petulance at the end of their three-one defeat at the hands of Costa Rica last weekend, whilst Diego Lugano is injured. Pereira and Lugano have one hundred and eighty-five international caps between them. That sort of experience can be invaluable to an entire team.

On top of that, there is the small matter of a certain Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz, who returns from injury to play against a team containing five of his club team-mates. Suarez insists that he is “100% fit,” but few seem to be taking that at face value – after all, what else he could he possibly say if asked about that? – and a muted Suarez is probably A Good Thing for England. To highlight such potential shortcomings, however, is to gloss over the obvious talents that Uruguay have at ther disposal, such as Edinson Cavani. And we might well contend that a Uruguayan defence containing two fewer of those that were so hapless against Costa Rica on Saturday might be no bad thing for them. England, menwhile, are unchanged, with Wayne Rooney understood to be moving to the centre of the pitch. Perhaps he will be less anonymous there than he was on the left on Saturday. Then again, though, perhaps he won’t be. Anyway, it all kicks off at eight o’clock this evening, and I’ll be here with Rob Freeman – and whoever else chooses to pitch – from shortly prior to then. England, for once, doesn’t expect this summer, and that’s no bad thing at all.

You can follow Rob on Twitter by clicking here.

You can follow Ian on Twitter by clicking here.

Ted June 19, 201410:06 pm

Ironically, England may have lost because they chucked in too many floaters. How can this even BE?

Ian June 19, 201410:01 pm

And there we are. They’re not quite out, but… oh, come on. Let’s face it, they are, aren’t they?

We all know the difference between the two teams, so there’s no great need to go over that, particularly. But that first twenty minutes of the second half, when England reverted back to their absolute, stodgy worst, proved to be their downfall.

Rob June 19, 20149:51 pm

Joe Hart trying to get his head and shoulders to the corner there.

Ted June 19, 20149:50 pm

Suarez has been absolutely magnificent tonight. He’s probably the world’s best striker. Imagine how much damage he could have done with two good knees.

Ian June 19, 20149:45 pm

Those looping diagonal crossed into the penalty area have been slowly eating away at my patience all evening. The goalkeeper will eat those up all night long.

Ian June 19, 20149:41 pm

Ha ha ha ha ha, had to be, didn’t it?

Gerrard being thick, Suarez being intelligent. A tale of two players, there.

Rob June 19, 20149:41 pm

And the Gerrard-Suarez combination proves as lethal as it has done so often for Liverpool. A flick on from Gerrard and Suarez blasts it past Hart. Uruguay 2 England 1.

Ian June 19, 20149:34 pm

Just to go back to the goal, that was quite a lovely move down the right hand side, from one end of the pitch to the other. I dare say that the talk will all be about Johnson’s final run, but it started about seventy yards before that.

Ian June 19, 20149:33 pm

They’ve woken up, now. Got a bit of momentum behind them. *Now* they look a bit more like they did last Saturday.

Rob June 19, 20149:32 pm

And England do score this evening. Glen Johnson goes on a run, cuts inside, and lays on a tap-in for Rooney, who can’t miss from three yards out.

Ian June 19, 20149:31 pm

Beautifully placed, my last post, I thought. Uruguay defending like England, there.

Richard June 19, 20149:31 pm

Oh my god. Thank bloody hell for that. Think I woke all the kids in my street up.

Ian June 19, 20149:30 pm

This has been a scruffy half, hasn’t it? Nothing like the ebb and flow of the first. I don’t think that England are going to score this evening. They’ve had a ton of possession and created practically nothing.

Richard June 19, 20149:28 pm

Can’t believe that Lampard isn’t on yet.

Richard June 19, 20149:26 pm

I agree Ian, its him or Welbeck that should have gone.

Rob June 19, 20149:25 pm

And back in the room. Laptop chose a good time to crash.

Ian June 19, 20149:22 pm

I’d have gone with Sturridge off, myself. Three or four times, he’s got himself into a reasonable position and then played just completely the wrong ball.

Richard June 19, 20149:21 pm

That would have been my choice…

Ian June 19, 20149:20 pm

Sterling off.

Richard June 19, 20149:17 pm

This better be an attacking substitution…

Ian June 19, 20149:11 pm

*Penguin wanders onto pitch*

*Wayne Rooney shoots on target*

*Ball strikes penguin and bounces over*

Ian June 19, 20149:09 pm

If there was little between the two teams in the first half, there bloody isnt any more.

Richard June 19, 20149:08 pm

Crumbling like a digestive.

Ted June 19, 20149:07 pm

Have England hatched a bold plan to surprise Uruguay, playing considerably worse in the second half? It’s high risk, let’s be honest.

Ian June 19, 20149:05 pm

Joe Hart has clearly never heard the phrase, “fool me once, shame on you – fool me twice, shame on me.”

Ted June 19, 20148:57 pm

I’m loath to play the devil’s advocate, but: Glenn Hoddle doesn’t half talk some shit, eh?

Ian June 19, 20148:49 pm

There we are, then. Once off the woodwork each, a couple of times narrowly over or wide each, and one moment of real quality to seperate the teams. Level would probably be fairer, but football ain’t about fair, is it?

Ted June 19, 20148:46 pm

Gary Cahill: the result of a genetic splicing experiment involving Robbie Keane and Frank Spencer.

Terry June 19, 20148:44 pm

Who does Suarez think he is celebrating his goal. Has he forgotten which country he plays in?

Ian June 19, 20148:43 pm

Twitter is very funny at the moment. A lot of people seem to be really struggling with the question of which they hate more: racism or the England football team.

Richard June 19, 20148:41 pm

If Rooney is going to score at a World Cup, now is the time!

Ted June 19, 20148:41 pm

What a good goal that was. But the cheer that accompanied it was extraordinary. The Latin peoples do much better cheering than northern-Europeans.

Rob June 19, 20148:40 pm

Sturridge forces a save from Muslera, after a lovely through ball from Rooney.

Richard June 19, 20148:39 pm

My other half was chatting to a friend and just cheered in error. Think we might be over.

Rob June 19, 20148:39 pm

First goalscorer here is Luis Suarez. Cavani chucks a floater in, and Suarez heads past Hart.

Ian June 19, 20148:38 pm

So, first goalscorer against Costa Rica then, Edward?

(ho ho ho)

*falls over*

Richard June 19, 20148:37 pm

Henderson is moving the ball around really well tonight. He always seems to retain possession.

Ted June 19, 20148:34 pm

Wayne Rooney’s first world cup goal for England will come in a dead rubber. At this time, he will score a hat-trick. My name, is Mystic Mund.

Ian June 19, 20148:32 pm

A floater was definitely chucked in, there.

Ian June 19, 20148:31 pm

Indeed. Godin should have walked for that.

Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney is going to play until he’s at least 256 years old before he scores in a World Cup finals match.

Terry June 19, 20148:31 pm

That was a sure fire floater.

Rob June 19, 20148:31 pm

And Rooney heads a shot against the woodwork from a freekick for a foul on Sturridge.

Richard June 19, 20148:28 pm

That should have been the end of Godin’s night.

Rob June 19, 20148:28 pm

Cavani puts a shot over the bar from a corner. These shots are slowly getting further and further away from goal.

Richard June 19, 20148:27 pm

“Don’t wait for Joe Hart” (Translation: Don’t trust Joe Hart)

Ian June 19, 20148:25 pm

(As an aside, Rich and I were discussing this match this afternoon and I mentioned that if I were the England coach, I’d tell somebody to aim a boot at the precise area that he recently had an operation performed upon.)

Doesn’t look as if they’re going to. Perhaps they’re just hoping that he’ll run out of steam. After all, he can’t have been training that hard recently.

Richard June 19, 20148:23 pm

When will someone put Suarez in has place again, Ian?

Ian June 19, 20148:22 pm

It’s all a bit panicky, Terry. England look decent going forward, but held together with sellotape and twigs at the back. Uruguay kind of look like scoring every time they go forward, and they’re certainly defending better than they did at the weekend.

Terry June 19, 20148:20 pm

Is this game any good? I can’t tell when it comes to England.

Ian June 19, 20148:16 pm

Bloody hell, Rodriguez should have scored there. Bit of an angle, but he sacrificed a bit too much accuracy for power, there. England look as defensively brittle as anticipated.

Rob June 19, 20148:10 pm

Godin booked for a handball on the edge of the box, and Rooney curls the resulting free kick about two inches wide.

Ian June 19, 20148:07 pm

Yes, yes it does. I posted an episode of the 1970s French cartoon “Wattoo Wattoo” here last night during the Croatia vs Cameroon match.

Rob June 19, 20148:06 pm

Ooooooh. Just pasting a Youtube URL converts it to an embedded video.

Rob June 19, 20148:05 pm

For alternative national anthem, can we have Luke Haines’ “Here’s to Old England”?

Here’s to old England
Sliced white bread and milky tea
Sarcasm, a well developed
Sense of irony
Here’s to old England
Rotting teeth and clotted cream
I promise to do my bit
And cheer the home team on to victory

Rob June 19, 20148:03 pm

The Uruguayan keeper is wearing tights. Orange tights.

Ian June 19, 20148:02 pm

That Uruguayan goalkeeper is just the worst-dressed man on the entire planet at the moment.

England’s shirts should have red numbers on the back.

And navy blue shorts.

Rob June 19, 20148:00 pm

Clive Tyldesley: “You’re not supposed to enjoy watching England at World Cups”

Especially when they’re on ITV.

Ian June 19, 20148:00 pm

Suggestion for an alternative national anthem for England: Mama Weer All Crazee Now, by Slade.

“And now will you please rise for the national anthem of England”

I don’t want to drink my whisky like you do
I don’t need to spend my money but still do
Don’t stop now a c-‘mon
Another drop now c-‘mon
I wanna lot now so c-‘mon
That’s right
That’s right
I said Mama but we’re all crazy now
I said Mama but we’re all crazy now
I said Mama but we’re all crazy now.

Richard June 19, 20147:56 pm

Nice national anthem there.

Ian June 19, 20147:54 pm

The top line numbers on the teams, by the way, are that England are unchanged from Saturday, whilst Uruguay make five changes. I don’t honestly think that Uruguay can play any worse than they did against Costa Rica and I don’t think England can manage must better than they did against Italy. Make of that what you wish.

Ian June 19, 20147:52 pm


Uruguay: Muslera, Gimenez, Godin, Caceres, Pereira, Lodeiro, Gonzalez, Arevalo Rios, Rodriguez, Cavani, Suarez. (Subs: Munoz, Fucile, Gargano, Hernandez, Forlan, Stuani, Perez, Ramirez, Coates, Maxi Pereira, Silva)

England: Hart, Baines, Cahill, Jagielka, Johnson, Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling, Rooney, Welbeck, Sturridge. (Subs: Foster, Wilshere, Lampard, Smalling, Jones, Milner, Lambert, Lallana, Barkley, Shaw, Forster)

Am I the only person who pronounces Sebastian Coates surname as if it rhymes with that of Ralph Coates? I’m certain that I can’t be.

Jenni June 19, 20147:32 pm

I’ve just read my son “That boy should play for England” by Alan Ahlberg as his bedtime story…he was unimpressed, can’t decide if this is a good or bad omen.

Ted June 19, 20147:28 pm

When England Play On ITV by John Donne

England always win on ITV,
Clive Tyldesley should get an OBE.
And Townsend will dance a jig of glee,
though he was born in Tipperary*

(* Maidstone)

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