Photo: Luis Suarez
Just weeks after undergoing knee surgery, Luis Suarez scored both of Uruguay’s goals here Thursday in a 2-1 victory over England.
The result leaves Uruguay with three points after two matches and a chance of advancing to the knockout stage.
England, meanwhile, has no points and could be eliminated as soon as Friday, when the other two teams in Group D, Italy and Costa Rica, face off in Recife.
The Italians and the Ticos each have three points after winning their respective opening matches, so a draw on Friday would spell an end to England’s hopes.
The “dual of the desperate” between England and Uruguay unfolded in front of 62,572 spectators - including some 20,000 Uruguayans - at São Paulo’s Arena Corinthians.
England had the better of the play for long periods in the first half, but were unable to finish.
The best chance belonged to Wayne Rooney, an accomplished scorer for Manchester United in the Premier League and England international since 2006 who came into Thursday’s contest with no goals in World Cup play.
Rooney’s thundering shot after teammate Danny Welbeck was fouled sailed less than three feet over the top of the net.
Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge also had opportunities, yet it was Uruguay who struck first, on Suarez’s header in the 39th minute off a beautiful ball from Edinson Cavani.
The South Americans dominated for the first 20 minutes or so of the second half, though to no avail, as both Suarez and Cavani squandered chances to double the lead.
England regrouped and began applying pressure. Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera needed cat-like reflexes to turn aside a point-blank shot from Rooney.
The Man United stalwart would get another chance, however, and this time, he made no mistake, hammering the ball past Muslera at the 75-minute mark.
The sides traded blows, but the English had the edge and Muslera was tested by a shot from Sturridge, Suarez’s Liverpool teammate and partner in the Premier League’s most potent offensive.
Who else but Suarez to deliver the win for Uruguay, taking advantage of a defensive miscue to make it 2-1 in the 85th minute.