Salisbury JournalGerrard realistic about chances (From Salisbury Journal)

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Gerrard realistic about chances

Salisbury Journal: Steven Gerrard admits England face an uphill battle to reach the second round Steven Gerrard admits England face an uphill battle to reach the second round

Steven Gerrard knows England are now "clutching at straws" after a defeat to Uruguay which leaves them staring down the barrel of a World Cup group exit for the first time in 56 years.

There had been much positivity despite Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Italy in the heat and humidity of the Amazon given the way Roy Hodgson's men had equipped themselves, but there was no such honour in the loss to Uruguay.

Luis Suarez exposed England's brittle defence, punishing mistakes to render Wayne Rooney's first World Cup goal worthless.

It leaves England teetering dangerously over the precipice, with Gerrard all too aware that their exit will be confirmed should Italy and Costa Rica draw their Group D clash on Friday.

"Italy are a fantastic team and capable of winning both games but we're clutching at straws," the Three Lions captain said.

"The position we're in is the position we didn't want to be in coming into the tournament, relying on other people's results. It's very difficult at the moment.

"We'll have to wait and see what happens in tomorrow's fixture. The manager will have to wait and see what happens before deciding what he is going to do.

"If there's nothing to play for then I don't know if he'll play a completely different team. But it's a very tough moment, at this moment."

Even if Italy's match with Costa Rica does not end in a draw, progression will still be out of England's hands.

They are on the brink and Gerrard could not hide his frustration at their inability to hold onto the point they would have earned with Rooney's 75th-minute leveller.

"It is frustrating," the skipper said. "We never managed the game well enough when we got the equaliser.

"We can't give chances to Luis Suarez because he buries them from that position.

"It's a really tough moment for everyone in the dressing room but we need to be professional, keep fighting and pray for that scoreline to go for us.

"[We are] sort of frustrated because looking at the two games and how we have performed we sort of deserve something out of either one of them if not both of them.

"I don't think I am standing here saying we were poor in both games and our gameplan was wrong.

"I just thought when we got the equaliser today we just needed to be a bit more clever, a bit more cute and a bit more difficult to beat.

"Maybe accept that going for a point might have been the best option. But they were weak at the back and they were there for the taking. Once we got the equaliser we tried to use the initiative to get the second."

Gerrard called this experience a "big learning curve", but it may not be one he will be able to take on-board with England given there is strong rumours that the 34-year-old will retire from international football after the tournament.

It was a subject the Liverpool midfielder was not willing to broach after the match - "It's not the moment now"- but he was willing to talk about the defensive mistakes that cost Hodgson's men.

Having been put to the sword by Italy after defensive errors, there was a worrying repeat as Edinson Cavani was afforded too much time to find Suarez with a wonderful chipped cross for the opener.

The second Uruguay goal was not much better, as captain Gerrard accidentally headed towards his own goal and into the path of Suarez, with his Liverpool team-mate making no mistake.

"[They were] sloppy goals and we have to take responsibility for that as a team," he said.

"The first one he's peeled off onto the back post, it's a fantastic ball by Cavani. We'll have to look at that and see what's what.

"The second one, I've gone to try and get good contact on the ball and I haven't good enough contact on it and I've been punished for it."

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