How England can still go through – just don’t put your house on it

The Rio Report

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England's 2-1 defeat to Uruguay has put them on the brink of elimination from the World Cup, but Roy Hodgson's side can still squeeze into the knockout stages of the competition, even if their fate is now in other teams' hands.


Having fallen 2-1 in Sao Paulo to the South Americans, who were inspired by two Luis Suarez strikes, England's chances of progression may be slim - "unbelievably" so, according to Roy Hodgson - but faint hope nevertheless exists.


The simple equation now facing England is three-fold:

- Italy must beat Costa Rica on Friday (tonight);

- Italy must beat Uruguay on Tuesday;

- England must beat Costa Rica on Tuesday by such a margin as to better the goal differences of Costa Rica and Uruguay.

Failure to get any one of those three results will send England home without having moved beyond the group stage for the first time since 1958.

So, it's clear that England relying heavily on Italy, the team who beat them 2-1 on the opening Group D matchday.

If the Azzurri can deliver against Costa Rica tonight, England will live to fight another day, even if they are still reliant of Cesare Prandelli's side on the final matchday, when both games kick off simultaneously.

Then, Hodgson will have no choice but to send out his side to attack the Central Americans in Belo Horizonte, while at the same time hoping that Italy - who will already have qualified - find the motivation to beat Uruguay in Natal.

Such an eventuality will see Italy top the group with nine points, with England, Uruguay and Costa Rica all on three points and goal difference settling who progresses with the Italians.

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