Five things we learned from day eight of the World Cup

Sports Mole discusses five talking points from day eight of the World Cup.

There was yet more drama and exciting action on what is fast becoming the most intriguing World Cup in recent memory. England's tournament is in tatters following defeat to Uruguay, while Colombia's march continues after they beat Ivory Coast.

Here, Sports Mole considers five things we have learned from the eighth day in Brazil.


1. World-class players make the difference

Luis Suarez of Uruguay celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match against England on June 19, 2014© Getty Images

This is obvious, really, but if England's defeat to Uruguay taught us anything it was the importance of having players with the ability to change a game. England controlled the possession and, although it was not as good a performance as against Italy, for long spells were up against a team who had camped bodies in their own half. The Three Lions did not have the player capable of unlocking Uruguay.

Enter Luis Suarez and, to a lesser extent, Edinson Cavani. Even at 70% fitness, or whichever figure is most believable, Suarez - a genuine, world-class striker - was too much for England to handle. He scored two goals that showed movement and finishing ability while at the other end Wayne Rooney, although he played reasonably well compared to his teammates, missed two sitters.

It was Cavani's dummy and that took several England players out of the game for the first goal, and after the Three Lions got back into the game Suarez finished them off with a finish of high standard. England do not have a Suarez or a Cavani, and this is the main reason that they are facing an early exit.


2. Mistakes are oh so costly at this level

 Luis Suarez of Uruguay scores his team's second goal against Gary Cahill of England during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match  on June 19, 2014© Getty Images

Just as easily as a team can be shown up by one of the best players in the world, so can they by a lack of concentration or defensive frailties. There were both of the above galore during England's performance against Uruguay and it is the case that if you defend like that then you simply cannot win important matches. As England proved.

Both goals that Suarez scored - however well he took them - were avoidable from England's point of view, and that is what will most upset Roy Hodgson. It is hard to account for individual errors, and unfortunately England's manager has a team prone to them. Hodgson has made a career of setting up teams to be hard to beat, but on Thursday night his team were quite the opposite.

Steven Gerrard's assist for Suarez's winner aside, Phil Jagielka did not cover himself with glory on either goal. For the first he was guilty of watching the ball as Cavani shaped to cross, and did not once glance at Suarez making a late run into the box. For the second goal, he was caught deciding whether to press up or drop off to cover the striker. In the end he did a bit of both, which allowed Suarez an easy run on goal from nothing more than a hopeful punt upfield.


3. On-form goalkeepers count for a lot

Greece's goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis makes a save during a Group C football match between Japan and Greece at the Dunas Arena in Natal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 19, 2014© Getty Images

Joe Hart cannot realistically be blamed for any of the four goals that he has conceded so far at the World Cup, but he has looked vulnerable from shots from range and a little flappy dealing with high balls into the box on occasion. With an inexperienced - at this level - defence in front of him, such actions do not breed confidence throughout the back five.

Look, for example, at Orestis Karnezis for Greece against Japan in Thursday's late game. Greece earned a 0-0 draw against Japan, having been down to 10 men for more than a half, and no one player deserved more credit for the result than Karnezis. He was very commanding in the air and never looked really troubled from any Japanese shots.

Hart just did not make the type of save that Fernando Muslera did when denying Wayne Rooney from point-blank range. His was not a poor performance by any means, but it was not a dominant goalkeeping display that makes those in front of him perform better.


4. Possession does not always equal victory

Uruguay's midfielder Cristian Rodriguez (L) vies with England's midfielder Raheem Sterling (R) during a Group D football match on June 19, 2014© Getty Images

There are many facets that need to come together for a team to win a crucial clash at a World Cup. One is a strong defensive unit, another is having a player capable of taking a high proportion of chances that fall his way. Another is making sure that you have the ball, although this one, as England proved on Thursday, does not work without the others.

Against Uruguay, England enjoyed 62% of possession, as well as more shots on goal, but they could not turn their dominance of the ball into a win. Uruguay were happy to play on the break for much of the game, and indeed their opening goal came from a counter-attack, despite England having plenty of players back defending. If the Uruguay win shows anything, it is the fact that there are much more important aspects than just having the ball at feet.


5. Experience, lack of experience? It doesn't really matter

England's coach Roy Hodgson looks on during the Group D football match between Uruguay and England at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo on June 19, 2014© Getty Images

In the lead-up to England's game against Uruguay, Hodgson said that he was looking for his more experienced players - Gerrard, Rooney - to perform. Rooney arguably had one of his better performances, but there were several players on the pitch who were outshone by their less experienced counterparts.

Gerrard gave the ball away in the build-up to Uruguay's first, then misplaced a header to directly assist their winner. Although Jordan Henderson alongside him did not have a stand-out game, he certainly outperformed his Liverpool teammate in the middle. Elsewhere, the young Raheem Sterling was again one of England's better players, although that does not say a great deal.

It does appear that there is so much more pressure on the players who have been at this level before, while those who have not are just enjoying the occasion. Hodgson has done a good job in bringing through a lot of young talents, but he might as well replace Gerrard, Glen Johnson and all the rest of the underperforming, but experienced, players.

 Luis Suarez of Uruguay scores his team's second goal against Gary Cahill of England during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match  on June 19, 2014
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