In the end, England’s demise was made all the worse by the fact it was self-inflicted, as they slumped to defeat against Uruguay via the misfortunate head of Steven Gerrard.
Luis Suarez was predictably clinical, as was Mario Balotelli for Italy, and the difference between the Three Lions and their group stage opposition was more to do with that pair’s decisive finishing than any real gulf in quality between sides.
England’s hopes of qualification are not entirely dead, but in reality the best they can hope for is a consolation win against Costa Rica, while Uruguay now have their destiny in their own hands, or in Suarez’s hands, as it might be more accurate to say.
The Liverpool forward could not possibly have been 100 per cent fit, and yet he had enough in the tank to win the game for Uruguay.
With La Celeste’s place in the last 16 still far from confirmed, their odds of winning the tournament as a whole are still a generous 40/1, a price punters should snap up while it lasts.
They are a completely different proposition with Suarez on the pitch and his link up with Edison Cavani for the first goal suggests that both of Uruguay’s world class forwards could be firing on all cylinders in time for the knockout stages.
Uruguay have only lost one match with Suarez on the pitch in 2014, and that defeat came in the rarified air of Ecuador’s absurdly high stadium.
They won four of their last five World Cup qualifiers, including a 3-2 victory over Argentina, to sneak into a play-off against Jordan which was easily negotiated.
Suarez was the easy choice for the PFA Player of the Year in the Premier League after scoring 31 and setting up 12 as Liverpool finished second and even half fit he makes Uruguay a threat to any side in the world.
In 2011, Suarez was voted the Player of the Tournament as Uruguay won the Copa America in Argentina. With another South American superpower hosting the World Cup this year, who’s to say that La Celeste and Suarez won’t end up coming out on top again.