Defenders let England down, not Roy Hodgson

Luis Suarez wheels away in triumph after scoring against England. Photo: Bevilacqua Giuliano/ABACA/Press Association Images

If you're looking for a hysterical, sack the FA board, 'ROY OUT!' type of reaction to England's timid capitulation to Uruguay last night, you've come to the wrong place I'm afraid.

Yes, the performance was as deflating as the loss to Italy was encouraging but knee-jerk hangings seldom achieve much.

We all said it beforehand, didn't we? And if you and I could see what was coming, why couldn't England?

It's not as if Luis Suarez is a surprise package; a Uruguayan treasure who has been hidden away only to be unveiled at this tournament to a startled footballing world.

No, he's been banging in 30 odd goals a season for Liverpool for a few years now. What's more five of his club team mates were playing against him last night.

One post-match comment from Gary Cahill summed it up for me.

He described Suarez's second goal, the winner, as unlucky. Unucky?

I just don't buy that. Suarez instinctively knew what would happen when he saw Steven Gerrard leap towards the ball.

The English defence didn't.

England centre-back Gary Cahill sits dejected following the defeat to Uruguay. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

And there's the difference, Suarez is not only world class with the ball at his feet but he is also brilliant without it.

England's naïve defenders allowed him to drift away from them twice last night and twice he punished them.

He is a surly, street fighter with an artist's touch.

England had said repeatedly in the week they shouldn't focus just on Suarez. Did they really mean that? Even if they did have a secret plan, it clearly didn't work. You need a snarling guard dog and quick footed whippet to keep him at bay. Where are England's?

England manager Roy Hodgson is under pressure after two World Cup defeats. Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The answer to that question is the reason why there is little point in binning Hodgson right now.

England simply cannot field the quality of player to neutralise exceptional performers like Suarez because it doesn't have them.

Where was the outcry when Hodgson named his squad? That's right, there wasn't one. So any reactionary outburst you read or hear today is bordering on hypocritical.

Like it or not the 23 in Brazil is pretty much the best on offer and just as medieval alchemists failed in their efforts to turn base metals into gold, Hodgson can't achieve it with England's footballers either.

Even if it was time for a change, who would you go for? Harry Redknapp? I think that chapter has closed. Brendan Rogers maybe?

I suspect barring a public outcry they find difficult to repel, the FA's instinct will be for Hodgson to carry on until the Euros and then hand over to Gary Neville.

Captain Gerrard did get one thing right in the build up to last night, he said the game would be decided on who defended better. It was no contest.

And until Hodgson, or whoever it might be, unearths some reinforcements at the back to compliment the potential going forward, the best strikers will continue to lick their lips at the prospect of running England ragged.

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