MANAUS – It was all in vain. Wayne Rooney’s first goal, the mighty effort in Manaus – almost certainly it ends here. England will need to be the first team in World Cup history to lose their opening two games and go through, if they are to qualify from here.
That isn’t going to happen. It won’t happen, most likely, because there is no guarantee England can win, even against Costa Rica, with a defence that cannot be trusted, not even for five minutes.
That was how long remained when Luis Suarez struck, a second time. It was a goal of almost agricultural quality. A long kick upfield by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, perhaps glancing the header of captain Steven Gerrard, inexplicably catching Gary Cahill unaware.
Suarez ran on and finished like a champion. He will say this was always destined to be his night – yet fate was leant a huge hand by England’s defensive frailty. You know where this debate will lead eventually. To a player currently posting pictures of his family holiday in Greece. You know his name, too.
The collateral damage here was Rooney. He has waiting three tournaments for his first World Cup goal and finally it came. He has been the scapegoat of the week. Useless, over-rated, overpaid, uncaring, untalented, past it, a waste of space – yet he should have kept England in the World Cup finals.
Suarez did the damage, but England were struggling for most of the game. Their performance had been stilted and blunt as the first against Italy was enterprising and zesty. Simply, they could not handle the pressure. Chances were wasted, tackles were missed, the defence and goalkeeper were on edge from the start.
There remains, mathematically, a chance that this campaign could turn around – but it is remote from here. If Italy and Costa Rica draw, England are out at 3pm local time on Friday. If there is a winner in that game, it must be Italy for England to stand a chance. Even then, they need two results to go in their favour and goal difference to be overturned. It is over.