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Craig Porter 20th Jun 2014 - 12:03

Glenn Hoddle reflects on England's defeat to Uruguay

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The regrets will be more than a few for Roy Hodgson. He came to Brazil full of hope and looks like heading home full of regrets.

And while it is easy to focus on Luis Suarez, and the goals England conceded - four in two games, especially the last one - it must not mask the problem England had going forward. There was a lack of movement in the final third. It highlighted how England, as a team, must do much more going forward.

That is the most frustrating aspect of England's overall play for me, the performance has to improve, the team needs to be more creative. Our movement was poor, particularly in the final third, getting behind the defence, creating overlaps, all that is needed to open up defences, was simply not happening anywhere near enough.

Far too often, wide players were coming inside, never getting round the back of defences and this was a glaring fault in England's forward play - if you get behind the defence you've got half a chance.

It's all very well saying Luis Suarez made the difference, but we have to find somebody ourselves that will make the difference. Andrea Pirlo made the difference, Luis Suarez made the difference. The other top teams have the players to make the difference.

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Mario Balotelli wants a kiss on the cheek from the Queen if Italy do England a favour tonight; he might get a kiss from Roy Hodgson if somehow England get through the group now.

England need snookers to qualify; not just one Italy win, but two. Two favours, and then we have to beat Costa Rica.

Even if Italy did win both games, which is perfectly possible, England still haven't managed a draw, let alone a win, and I don't think Costa Rica are going to be pushovers, far from it.

So tonight we are keeping our fingers cross and looking to Mario to turn up in super form. As we all know from watching him at close quarters during his Manchester City days, he can be enigmatic. He can also be mischievous, and somehow I can imagine Mario wanting England to get through. I think they would fear Luis Suarez more than they would fear England!

If England had a finisher like Luis Suarez, Roy Hodgson's team would have won both games against Italy and Uruguay. England were beaten by a world class finisher. We had enough chances in the two games, but we don't have that out-and-out goalscorer.

Suarez was the difference. Yet, he had a quiet game, until he came alive with his chances. Two chances, two goals; that's the quality Suarez brings to the table. And the first goal was truly world class. Edinson Cavani took out five players with the chipped pass, the way he got the ball up and then down for Suarez was world class.

Suarez's finishing showed he is one of the best in the world - the way he left Phil Jagielka, got a run on him, and produced such a wonderful header, was truly magnificent. His finishing was again outstanding for his second goal although it was a schoolboy error to give him the chance.

Over all, I don't think anyone should be really surprised about what has happened, although I did hope that England could make the quarter-finals.
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By the way I see much is being made about my comment during ITV's coverage of the Uruguay game about Joe Hart being ‘head and shoulders' above the other England keepers.

But, of course, you would have seen the pun first here in my williamhill.com column ...

 

 
 
 

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