Suarez bite must not hide toothless England's failings
Luis Suarez has put the England situation off the main media agenda but there is no hiding place for the failings of Roy Hodgson’s team out here in Brazil.
As England head off home, leaving behind a fabulous tournament packed full of goals and attacking football, it is not an impressive stat of just one point and two goals from three games, culminating in a goalless draw. But I can appreciate why Roy has done his best to look at all the positives - and yes, there are some positives.
But equally there is going to have to be a lot of soul searching about where England go from here.
As for the final game, in one of the best ever World Cups in terms of teams going for goals, it was such a pity it ended goalless for England against a team that had already qualified and didn’t really turn up. Yet, on another day, had Daniel Sturridge had his shooting boots on, he could have ended up with a hat trick. Still, he has at least scored a World Cup goal, and he looks capable of scoring many more for his country.
Certainly England had control of their final game for long periods, but it was against a team who were not playing at full throttle. It would have been a lovely send off for the fans had England finished off with a win at least. But I felt it would be a draw, and that’s how it turned out.
Yet, I saw some good signs the way that Adam Lallana and Jack Wilshere were controlling midfield and that is why I was really surprised when they came off. Even in the first half England were getting behind the Costa Rica defence and that had been such a vital element that had been lacking in the two previous games against Italy and Uruguay.
The movement off the ball had not been good enough and was for me one of the main reasons England failed. We had plenty of possession to have opened teams up, and that’s why I was disappointed when Lallana and Wilshere were subbed, as that was just at the time when the game was opening up with lots of space.
There is no doubt the tournament has been a learning curve for the likes of Ross Barkley and Lallana, and it has pinpointed what we suspected before the tournament started that there are weaknesses in defence.
However, I thought Luke Shaw did reasonably well, but I felt sorry for him in the first half when he found his options limited. I just felt if England could have got themselves one-up the team would flourish, but there was never a time in the entire three group games when they actually lead in a game.
For me the Costa Rica game should have been viewed as the first game in the preparation for the Euros. The FA have come out and said they want to stick with Roy, which is fair enough and something I happen to agree with.
The youngsters were put in to play with a lot of pride, to perform the way they do for their clubs, to do themselves justice in an England shirt, to experience a different system, to be positive and go for a result.
But if this was to be the start of planning for the Euros, I was baffled as to why Frank Lampard was chosen to play, if he has indicated that he will quit international football. Because if that is the case, and I am sure there has been a conversation with Roy, then perhaps there is an argument to have played another youngster and given him his chance. If Frank opts to stay in the Premier League then that a different story, then I think he should continue with England, but if he goes off to America, maybe not.
Now we must have planning, planning and more planning for the future and that is the Euros, and that should have meant a chance for someone else if Frank is looking to move on to the States and retire from England duty.
I still believe Steven Gerrard will continue with England as Roy will want that, and he is still one of our best passers of the ball and can play a part for England for another two years. There is no one in the country with his range of passing form midfield, but he is also a leader, and we are not blessed with leaders at the moment.
I can understand he has a lot of commitments with Liverpool next season with the addition of the champions League, but I would say to him:
Your Country Needs You!
*Glenn Hoddle is part of the star-studded ITV team for the World Cup, while he is also a leading pundit with Sky.