England 1-2 Uruguay
After both teams lost their opening matches, neither side could afford to lose in Sao Paolo.
Roy Hodgson kept faith with same side that bravely battled Italy—half of whom ply their trade at Anfield. It was therefore ironic that Luis Suarez, Liverpool’s talisman, became England’s chief tormentor as he broke English hearts with a ruthless double.
Despite England having more of the ball, Uruguay defended doggedly and frustrated the Three Lions. Suarez’s guile and genius was simply the difference between the two well-matched sides and his performance dismissed any lingering injury concerns.
His first was a brilliant header after he was picked out by strike partner Edinson Cavani, as Suarez ghosted into space to evade his marker Phil Jagielka and headed past Joe Hart.
Late on Wayne Rooney broke his World Cup duck as he converted a brilliant England move—scoring his 40th goal international goal. From there on it seemed there was only one winner but the ever-opportunistic Suarez clinically seized on a defensive error to win the match for Los Charrúas.
Italy 0-1 Costa Rica
The England defeat meant Roy Hodgson’s men would be eliminated if Costa Rica avoided defeat against the Italians.
Ticos’ performance against Italy proved that their opening victory against Uruguay was anything but fortunate as they played with an impressively high-tempo, stifling the Azzurri’s back line and midfield.
Despite the pressure, Andrea Pirlo typically found a way to make things happen. Twice, his first time passes released Mario Balotelli but the Milan forward failed to capitalise on the openings.
On the stroke of half-time Fulham’s Bryan Ruiz headed Costa Rica in front—a lead which never looked like being relinquished.
The defeat means Tuesday’s match at the Estadio das Dunas in Natal against Uruguay effectively becomes a straight-forward knock-out tie to see who will progress alongside Costa Rica into the last 16.
FINAL GROUP C FIXTURES (Tuesday 24th June—both games kick-off at 5pm GMT)
Italy vs Uruguay
England vs Costa Rica