ENGLAND’S World Cup hopes are over, with Costa Rica’s surprise defeat of Italy condemning them to a first group stage exit since 1958.
Roy Hodgson’s side impressed but ultimately fell short in their opening match against Italy, before Luis Suarez inspired Uruguay to victory in Sao Paulo on Thursday evening.
It left the Three Lions needing Italy to win their final two Group D matches, while hoping they themselves ended up with a better goal difference than Uruguay and Costa Rica.
However, England will now head to Belo Horizonte next Tuesday for their final match against Los Ticos with their fate sealed after the Azzurri fell to a shock defeat in Recife.
Bryan Ruiz’s first-half header earned Costa Rica a 1-0 win and saw them through the last 16, extinguishing any hope England had of avoiding an embarrassing group exit in the process.
It is the first time in 56 years England have fallen at this stage, with that World Cup squad the only one younger than the current crop.
The Three Lions’ other group-stage exit came in 1950 – the previous time the tournament was held in Brazil – and, while they approached the tournament more in hope than expectation, their early exit rankles.
The general consensus heading into the tournament was that it could not be any worse than the under-achievement in South Africa four years ago.
However, defeats to Italy and Uruguay coupled with surprise package Costa Rica means it has been just that, with the inquest that follows unlikely to make pretty reading for the Football Association or Hodgson.
The Three Lions boss said after the Uruguay defeat that he would not resign and looks to stay in his job, having been given the backing of FA chairman Greg Dyke before their exit was confirmed.
“We’re supportive of Roy Hodgson, we’ve asked him to stay as manager,” Dyke told reporters.
When asked by Sky Sports News if he felt Hodgson would remain in his job until the end of his contract at the 2016 European Championships, Dyke added: “That is the view of myself, of everybody else here (in Brazil) and of others in the FA.”
As well as Dyke, Hodgson retains the full support of FA board members Sir Trevor Brooking, Alex Horne and Adrian Bevington, who installed him as Fabio Capello’s successor two years ago. They have seen enough promise in Brazil to believe that Hodgson is the right man to take England through to Euro 2016, which is being held in France.
“Everybody thought we played really well in the first game and narrowly lost,” Dyke said when asked why England had lost both their opening World Cup games for the first time in history.
“In the second game it could have gone either way. We were not humiliated or anything like that. They were narrow defeats, but it is for the football people, not for me to identify why we did not win.”
England have shown some flashes of attacking flair in Brazil, thanks to the exploits of youngsters Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Daniel Sturridge.
Ever since he took on the job of FA chairman, Dyke has targeted victory at the 2022 World Cup.
When he was asked whether that target was still attainable, Dyke said: “Yes, I do, but I think it means lots of changes in English football. I think there is a real chance that we can develop and win in 2022 – that is the aim.”
Dyke believes England’s chances of success will improve if the number of foreign players in the Premier League is reduced. He added: “We know that we have a problem, that there are not as many English players playing in the Premier League, or even the Championship, now as there used to be, therefore that is the choice that is left, but that is what we have got to go from and I don’t think that is a cause for what has happened here.”