Luis Suarez scored twice as Uruguay’s 2-1 win left England on the brink of elimination at soccer’s World Cup. Colombia defeated Ivory Coast 2-1 and 10-man Greece held on for a scoreless tie against Japan.
Suarez, who missed his team’s first game following May knee surgery, scored the decisive goal in the 85th minute yesterday. A long goal kick by Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera skimmed off the head of England’s Steven Gerrard and Suarez collected the ball before smashing it past Joe Hart into the net.
“The second goal was obviously a defensive mistake on our part,” England coach Roy Hodgson said in a televised interview. “I’m really bitterly disappointed, disappointed for everybody. We came here with such high hopes and we’ve not been able to deliver. It’s a major, major sadness for me.”
England will be eliminated today if Costa Rica, a 3-1 victor against Uruguay in its opening game, avoids defeat against Italy, which beat Hodgson’s team 2-1.
Italy plays Costa Rica in the Group D match in Recife. Also today, Switzerland takes on France in Salvador in a match between Group E’s top teams, and Honduras plays Ecuador in Curitiba as they both look for a first win in Group E.
Suarez’s winning strike came 10 minutes after Wayne Rooney brought England even at 1-1. Rooney got on the end of a pass from Glen Johnson and pushed the ball past Muslera, who had frustrated the striker with earlier saves. It was Rooney’s 40th goal for England and his first in a World Cup.
Uruguay took the lead in the 39th minute in Sao Paulo when Suarez got beyond defender Phil Jagielka and headed in a cross-field pass from Edinson Cavani.
England, which had 62 percent of possession, had a chance to score less than 10 minutes into the second half, when Rooney had a left-footed shot saved by Muslera.
In the first half, Rooney’s 10th-minute free kick spun just past the post as Muslera was caught standing still and the England striker also hit the crossbar with a close-range header in the 31st minute.
“I thought everyone tried very, very hard,” Hodgson said. “The mood at the moment is very low and it’s hard to know what to say.”
In yesterday’s first game, Colombia used two quick second-half goals to defeat Ivory Coast 2-1 in Brasilia and take control of their group.
The victory gives Colombia six points, with Ivory Coast on three, after two matches. The other teams in Group C -- Japan and Greece -- have one point each after their scoreless tie yesterday.
James Rodriguez’s headed goal from a corner kick in the 64th minute gave Colombia the lead. Five minutes later, substitute Juan Quintero scored on a counterattack after Ivory Coast lost possession near the halfway line. Three minutes later, Gervinho weaved through the Colombia defense to score.
“We have a solid team,” Colombia coach Jose Pekerman told journalists. “We feel very positive and we hope we can keep counting on that, especially in difficult games like the one today, which was very tough.”
Greece held on to tie Japan after captain Konstantinos Katsouranis was dismissed for a second yellow card in the 38th minute in Natal. Japan had 70 percent of possession in the first half, and still dominated in the second but was unable to get a goal.