Gary Cahill struggled to contain his disappointment after England were beaten 2-1 by Uruguay at the World Cup, leaving Roy Hodgson’s side relying on the remaining three games in the group to go their way if they are to avoid elimination at the first hurdle.
After Wayne Rooney’s first goal at the World Cup finals had cancelled out Luis Suarez’s opener 15 minutes from time, it was England in the ascendancy, and looking the team most likely to score a winner.
With five minutes left on the clock, however, Suarez struck again, pouncing on a Steven Gerrard header and firing powerfully beyond Joe Hart.
‘It’s one of the worst feelings I’ve had in my career,’ Cahill told FIFA.com. ‘But the only satisfaction we can give ourselves is that we gave 110 per cent, everything we had, in terms of our preparation and our training. But sometimes it’s just not quite good enough. Sometimes football is cruel.
‘Again we played well – we gave a good account of ourselves – but we lost the game and got nothing from it. I’ve certainly been involved in games as a player where personally and collectively as a team, we’ve played a lot worse than that and got results. But I would rather play worse and get results, if I’m honest.’
On a personal level, the Chelsea defender had performed well for much of the game, thwarting Edison Cavani with a well-timed tackle in the first half and producing a couple of important defensive headers after the break.
However, there was little he could do to prevent Suarez from scoring Uruguay’s second goal.
‘He was one of the best players in the Premier League last season and he’s a great finisher,’ added the Chelsea defender. ‘He took his first goal really well. I thought his second goal was very fortunate, sometimes you need that bit of luck in the game and it fell for them today.’
The last time England suffered a group-stage exit at the World Cup was in 1958, and to avoid a repeat they must beat Costa Rica next Tuesday and hope Italy win their remaining two matches.
Cahill, for now, is trying to remain positive.
‘At the moment, it’s so hard to take,’ he said. ‘It’s going to be four very hard days for us to swallow. On the flip side, we hope Italy perform very well in the next two games and we get a win in the last one. That’s all we can do at this moment.’