20 June 2014 | News Comments

Hodgson insists England weren't outplayed

By Glenn Mason

England manager Roy Hodgson has denied suggestions his team were outplayed in their 2-1 defeat to Uruguay in Sao Paulo.

However, he admitted his side’s chances of reaching the knockout stages of the World Cup were “unbelievably slim”.

Luis Suarez returned from a knee injury to score twice and condemn England to their second defeat in Group D.

Wayne Rooney had equalised for England but they were made to pay for more defensive errors and Suarez fired home the winner with five minutes remaining.

The defeat leaves England relying on Italy beating Costa Rica and Uruguay in Italy's final two games and England themselves getting a comprehensive win over Coast Rica in Belo Horizonte.

England struggled to break down Uruguay in open play, as the attacking promise they showed in their opening defeat to Italy in disappeared.

A forlorn Hodgson bemoaned bad luck going against his side in the run-up to both goals. "Our chances are unbelievably slim," he admitted in his post-match press conference.

"It depends on Italy winning their next two matches, and winning by a good number of goals, and us beating Coast Rica by the requisite number of goals.

"To be sure of continuing we needed a result today, a draw or a victory, and we didn’t get it." 

When asked if he believed England had been outplayed, he replied curtly: "No I don’t."

Hodgson bemoaned bad luck going against his side in the run-up to both goals.

He tried to take some positives from two defeats in five days, but was forced to admit that performances matter less than the results.

“I think in both the games we have showed some moments of playing good football,” he said.

“We have showed that we are a team that is making progress, but results decide everything and both results have been negative.”

Suarez had only two shots on target in 90 minutes and both ended up in Joe Hart’s net.

Hodgson felt they kept Suarez in check, and while the Liverpool striker may have had a quieter night than his high standards, he was still able to put away the two chances that came his way.

Suarez’s clinical finishing was in contrast to Wayne Rooney, who converted just one of his three goal-scoring opportunities.

The Manchester United forward headed onto the bar from inside six yards in the first half, while in the second half his close-range effort was blocked by Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera.

"I thought we controlled Suarez well in general play," said Hodgson.

"He did very, very well to get away to the back post for the first goal. Quite frankly, for long periods of the game we kept him very quiet. We are normally used to seeing him a lot more active in and around our penalty area than we saw him today.

"For the second goal, it was an unfortunate flick off Stephen Gerrard, which put him free with the goalkeeper and when he comes free with the goalkeeper he doesn't miss from that area.

"Ideally, your only plan to deal with that would be to make certain that you don’t allow the flick to put him through with the goalkeeper.

"Two chances came his way and as a top player he is he took both chances and that’s probably ended our chances of staying in the competition."