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Gerrard: Sloppy England lacked intelligence

ESPN staff
June 20, 2014 « I want a kiss from the Queen if we help England - Balotelli | WILL TEST Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Hodgson: We are making progress

Steven Gerrard says England needed to be more intelligent and less sloppy to prevent the goals that led to their devastating World Cup defeat by Uruguay.

Luis Suarez scored twice to condemn England to a second successive loss in Brazil and leave Roy Hodgson's side on the brink of a group-stage exit for the first time at a World Cup since 1958.

Gerrard's mistimed header presented his Liverpool team-mate with the opportunity to beat the England defence and score a late winner in Sao Paulo, leaving England's hopes of progressing in tatters.

Captain drops quit hint

  • England's disappointing World Cup campaign has been a "new low" for captain Steven Gerrard, leading the Liverpool midfielder to hint he will consider quitting international football.
  • Gerrard said: "I need to park that hurt and the feeling I have got and see what happens over the next four or five days. If you go out in the group stage it will be a very personal low for myself and the team and I am sure everyone will feel very similar.
  • "It's not the moment now to talk about my future. But I said before the tournament that I'll be respectful to you guys [the press] so let's see what happens over the next four or five days and we'll talk again.
  • England must rely on Italy beating both Costa Rica and Uruguay if they are to progress to the next stage, but Gerrard is not holding out much hope.
  • "Italy are a fantastic team and capable of winning both games but we're clutching at straws. The position we're in is the position we didn't want to be in coming into the tournament, relying on other people's results. It's very difficult at the moment."

"When we got the equaliser today we just needed to be a bit more clever, a bit more cute and a bit more difficult to beat," Gerrard said. "Maybe we should accept that going for a point might have been the best option.

"They were weak at the back and they were there for the taking. Once we got the equaliser we tried to use the initiative to get the second.

"They were sloppy goals and we have to take responsibility for that as a team. The first one he's [Suarez] peeled off onto the back-post and it's a fantastic ball by [Edinson] Cavani.

"The second one, I've gone to try and get good contact on the ball and I haven't got good enough contact on it and been punished for it."

England's defending has been widely criticised by former-players-turned-pundits as the dust begins to settle but Gerrard believes naivety was the main reason Hodgson's side came up short.

The midfielder is praying Italy do them a favour by beating Costa Rica and Uruguay as England now have to rely on other results if they are to reach the knockout stage.

Gerrard said: "It is such a cruel level. You can't give world class players chances - that's one thing - and when you're still in the game you need to be more difficult to beat. That was the disappointing thing for me.

"At 1-1 as a team we sort of went for the second goal and maybe we should have been more experienced and gone for the draw. It is a big learning curve today. It's very tough at this moment.

"We never managed the game well enough when we got the equaliser. We can't give chances to Suarez because he buries them from that position. It's a really tough moment for everyone in the dressing room but we need to be professional, keep fighting and pray for that score-line to go for us.

"Looking at the two games and how we performed, we sort of deserved something out of either one of them if not both of them. I don't think I'm standing here saying we were poor in both games and our game-plan was wrong."

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