Diego Maradona: 'Blame Steven Gerrard for England exit'

Maradona: 'Blame Gerrard for England exit'
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Diego Maradona claims that England captain Steven Gerrard is majorly responsible for his nation's early World Cup exit.

England captain Steven Gerrard should accept most of the blame for his nation's early World Cup exit, according to Diego Maradona.

Costa Rica beat Italy on Friday to seal their progression from Group D and consign the Three Lions to a first group-stage exit since the 1958 edition of the tournament.

However, the damage was done in Thursday's 2-1 defeat to Uruguay, where an error from Gerrard led to Luis Suarez smashing an 85th-minute winner past Joe Hart.

"Gerrard and the English defence must take the blame for both Uruguay goals. When [Nicolas] Lodeiro started his run before the first, Gerrard could have done better," the Argentina legend wrote in his column for The Times of India.

"It was Gerrard again who made a mess of a long shot from the Uruguayan goalkeeper after England had equalised. The ball went to Suarez, who once again found a lot of room in the penalty area before unleashing a ferocious shot.

"You can't afford [to do] that with a striker of his class and England paid the price."

Roy Hodgson's side conclude their campaign by facing the Costa Ricans on Tuesday, while Italy and Uruguay battle it out to join the Caribbean team in the last-16 stage.

 Manager Roy Hodgson of England looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between England and Italy at Arena Amazonia on June 14, 2014
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