Luis Suarez scored twice to hand Uruguay a 2-1 win, which leaves England on the brink of an ignominious World Cup exit in the group stage.
Suarez headed Uruguay in front early on, but the momentum was with England when Wayne Rooney drew the Three Lions level.
But with five minutes remaining, Suarez seized on a loose ball to race clear and smash an unstoppable shot beyond Joe Hart.
A frenetic start resulted in a number of early errors. Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera spilled a simple ball, which could have proven costly, but it just ran away from Daniel Sturridge.
The first sight of Suarez arrived four minutes in with a sharp give and go which forced a corner. The movement looked sharp and assured, with no sign of discomfort from his knee injury.
From the resulting corner, Suarez almost scored direct when spotting Hart off his line. His body might not be 100 percent, but his mind is sharp.
England came close to opening the scoring on nine minutes, as a Rooney free-kick left Muslera standing but missed the target by a matter of inches.
The Three Lions did not look totally assured at the back, and a sliced clearance from Phil Jagielka handed an opening to Cristian Rodriguez. The Uruguayan struck his shot crisply, but it fizzed narrowly over the bar.
England’s first real chance in open play came at 31 minutes, and it was a big chance.
A deep free-kick from Steven Gerrard picked out Rooney at the far post. Rooney stands at 5'9". If he were 5'10", he would probably have nodded England in front, but he could not quite get over the ball and, as a result, planted his header against the bar.
ManUtd Bulletin (@MUFCBulletin) June 19, 2014
Eight minutes later, England fell behind. Time and again in his career, Suarez has proven elusive to his markers, and he left Jagielka for dead. He needed help, and a pinpoint cross from Edinson Cavani provided it. Suarez still had work to do, but he planted his header beyond Hart before wheeling away in delight.
Luis Suarez 1-0 Uruguay https://t.co/i0b2HpAyIA— gifdsports (@gifdsports) June 19, 2014
Suarez could have scored that on crutches. What a ball from Cavani.— Kyle Martino (@kylemartino) June 19, 2014
England were praised for their dynamic play against Italy, but they were far more reserved in Sao Paulo, and their response to falling behind was disappointing.
The start of the second half saw a repeat of the first, as Suarez hit a wicked corner that forced Hart into a reflex save.
Uruguay could have put the game beyond England in a six-minute spell immediately after half-time.
Suarez was presented with an opening, but scuffed his shot, while Cavani was played through on goal but sliced his effort out for a goal kick.
Rooney came into the game without a World Cup goal to his name. He came desperately close on 54 minutes with an exquisite touch and a powerful strike that was beaten away by Muslera.
It was a bright moment that shook England out of their slumber. The Three Lions enjoyed a decent spell of pressure, but too often the final ball was lacking.
England’s crossing has been horrendous today.— Stefan Bienkowski (@SBienkowski) June 19, 2014
Roy Hodgson threw on Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana, and with 15 minutes remaining, England were on level terms.
Glen Johnson had played poorly for much of the match, but he showed great desire to win a ball on the right and delivered a cross that Rooney was on hand for to tap home his first World Cup goal.
The goal changed the momentum of the match, and England looked extremely dangerous. But with five minutes left on the clock, Suarez seized on a long ball, and with legs of jelly he somehow remained calm to crash a shot into the top corner.
It was poor defending of a hopeful long punt from England, as the ball flicked off Gerrard's head and Jagielka was caught in no-man's land, but the finish was out of the very top drawer.
Defeat does not spell the end for England, although it is pretty close to it. The Three Lions now need Italy to beat Costa Rica and Uruguay, while they need to beat Costa Rica handsomely themselves to qualify.
For Uruguay, their destiny is back in their hands ahead of their final game of the group against Italy.
|Player||1st Half Rating||2nd Half Rating|
|Jose Maria Gimenez||8||7|
|Player||1st Half Rating||2nd Half Rating|
England boss Hodgson spoke to ITV after the game and felt his side were unfortunate to lose.
We’re more than disappointed, we are devastated. We felt we could do enough to get a result in this game.
To get back to 1-1, I fully believed we would go on to win or at least draw the game, so to concede the second goal is an unbelievable blow.
It is a goal we do not expect to concede. Long goals kicks, with the players we have we should deal with them.