SAO PAULO, June 20: England captain Steven Gerrard regretted his error that led to Uruguay’s winning goal on Thursday, saying inexperience had cost his team, who now need a miracle to stay in the World Cup.
Luis Suarez, back in action just four weeks after knee surgery, scored twice in the tense Group D encounter, either side of Wayne Rooney’s first ever World Cup goal in Sao Paulo.
For the second goal, Gerrard mistimed a header in midfield and it fell to Liverpool team-mate Suarez, who smashed home the winner five minutes from time.
The veteran 34-year-old midfielder, who said the result was a “personal low”, admitted the goals conceded were “sloppy”.
“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 (Edinson) Cavani. We’ll have to look at that.
“The second one I’ve tried to get good contact on the ball and I haven’t got good enough contact on it.”
Gerrard said perhaps the side should have settled for a point after equalising with just 15 minutes to go.
“I just thought when we got the equaliser today we needed to be a bit more clever, a bit more cute, be a bit more difficult to beat,” said the midfielder.
“Maybe accept that going for a point might be the best option but they were weak at the back. They were there for the taking and once we got the equaliser we tried to take the initiative.”
The result leaves England pointless in Group D, with Italy, Costa Rica and Uruguay all on three points. But if Italy beat Costa Rica and Uruguay, England could still progress.
“It’s a really tough moment for everyone in the dressing room but we need to be professional and keep fighting and play for that small glimmer of hope,” Gerrard said.
Refusing to be drawn on his own international future he insisted England deserved something from their two matches so far. In their first game, against Italy, Roy Hodgson’s men impressed but lost 2-1.
“We’ll analyse the game afterwards but it’s simple really,” Gerrard said. “At this level you can’t give world-class players chances and when you’re still in the game you need to be more difficult to beat.”
“Italy are a fantastic team capable of winning both games but we’re clutching at straws, which is a position we didn’t want to be in coming into the tournament, relying on other people.”
He said the performance of club team-mate Suarez did not come out of the blue.
“We knew. It’s no shock no surprise,” he said. “Everyone in the dressing room knows Suarez inside out. We know what he’s about. He’s had two chances in the game and he’s taken them really well.
“That just goes to show. He hasn’t played for five weeks and he comes back and he’s still as deadly as ever.”