Friday 20 June 2014 11:40, UK
After seeing Luis Suarez hammer England’s World Cup hopes, Peter Taylor reckons the Uruguay striker is the best player in the world right now.
The Liverpool ace scored either side of Wayne Rooney’s first World Cup goal to snatch a 2-1 win for his side and leave Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions on the brink of an early exit from Brazil 2014.
Uruguay were a different team to what they were against Costa Rica.
Playing in his first game back after knee surgery, Suarez’s first-half header and winner five minutes from time demonstrated the striker’s clinical finishing skills.
And Taylor told Sky Sports News his return lifted the level of his Uruguay team-mates, who’d surprisingly lost 3-1 to Costa Rica in their World Cup opener.
Asked if Suarez is the best in the world right now, the one-time England caretaker boss Taylor said: “Yes – and because of his work rate as well.
“He’s a fantastic finisher, he doesn’t give a centre-half any time whatsoever, he works his socks off for the team and he’s got great quality.
“Uruguay were miles better, they’re a different team to what they were against Costa Rica. Is that because Suarez was playing tonight and the rest of his team have got more confidence and belief in their ability?”
Former England defender Chris Powell agreed Suarez had boosted his international colleagues but reckoned Hodgson’s side failed to perform at the key moments at both ends of the field.
“Uruguay were so poor in the first game and they’ve been galvanised by one player, who we all know well,” he said.
“Suarez has shown how much Uruguay lean on him. Edinson Cavani looks a threat but he looks a threat with Suarez alongside him.
“This is a missed opportunity for us, though. We had a feel-good factor from Saturday’s performance [in the 2-1 defeat to Italy] but it’s all about the result and we switched off twice tonight and we’ve been punished both times.
“It’s disappointing because we’ve got a fantastic manager and a good squad but in crucial moments we just haven’t been there and that’s the difference between a good side and a world-class side.
“I suppose we’ve always looked at our squad getting good experience for future tournaments, and that’s the way we need to look at it.”
England can still qualify for the knockout phase via goal difference should they beat Costa Rica in their final group game and Italy beat both Costa Rica and Uruguay.
However, ex-England midfielder David Bentley was left deflated by Thursday night’s display and feels the team have been punished for failing to take command of their matches.
“They’ve gone out there and they’ve shown signs of ability at times and glimpses that they’re going to do well," he said.
"But they’re just not positive enough, they don’t show enough character and don’t have charisma on the ball and feel good about themselves when they play.
“I thought we were going to do well. There was a blend between the young lads and the manager and everyone seemed in good spirits, but it seems like we play within ourselves again; Rooney got the goal but he wasn’t influential.
"Demanding the ball, producing and making things happen, we’ve lost that.”