By Pip Cole
At around 21:40 last night a wave of disappointment swept the nation as Luis Suarez netted the second Uruguay goal, sinking England to its second defeat in as many matches.
Italy sussed us out and the Uruguayans managed to contain England’s attack while their talisman seized on two chances to net twice, effectively condemning the lads to an early flight home. After only a week in Brazil, Coleen Rooney might not have needed seven bags after all!
But as I slumped back in my couch last night, strong coffee in hand and the Group D table glaring from my laptop, a glimmer of hope crept through my mind as I realised that mathematically we could still progress. A small glimmer of hope it may be, but on closer examination the odds of getting through start to shorten.
Why There’s Still Hope
If Italy beat Costa Rica tonight, which you would expect to happen- I know its the World Cup, but it is the ‘Best v Worst’ in the group – it means if England beat Costa Rica and Italy beat Uruguay then The table finishes ITALY 9, ENGLAND 3, COSTA RICA 3 and URUGUAY 3.
It then goes to goal difference, which at the moment is ENGLAND -2, URUGUAY -1 and COSTA RICA +2. However, if the above results were to happen, the worst the goal difference for England would be ENGLAND -1, URUGUAY -2 COSTA RICA 0. So England would have to beat Costa Rica by two goals.
The optimist in me says that if Italy beat Costa Rica tonight by two or more goals, then England just need to beat Costa Rica and Italy, who will need a win to finish top, to beat Uruguay – not a route England would have chosen but at 5/1 to get through the group and 10/1 to get to the 1/4 finals, maybe not mission impossible. What’s more, it’s in Italy’s interests to get maximum points from the group.
If they were to lose against Uruguay then they’re likely to play Group C winners Colombia which isn’t an ideal fixture. The Coffee Growers put three past Greece and saw off their biggest threat Ivory Coast comprehensively, a team Italy would fancy their chances against.
The Eternal Optimist
Hope can be a dangerous thing when it comes to the England national football team, but let’s not condemn the lads to failure just yet. Of course, if Italy fail to get a result tonight then this is all to shot, but until then, I’m going for a Carlsberg down at The Eternal Optimist.