5 Things for England Fans to Look Forward to After Uruguay Defeat
In the wake of defeat to Uruguay, England fans will struggle to remain optimistic for what the immediate future holds for the Three Lions.
With just one game remaining in Group D, their fate sits in the hands of Italy, who must now win their remaining two matches to give England any chance of progressing into the last 16 of the World Cup.
It's a bitter pill to swallow, but when the dust settles on this campaign, there will be plenty of positives to consider, such as the emergence of a new-look team built around youthful promise.
England may be staring World Cup elimination in the face, but here are five things fans can look forward to.
A Bright Future
When England crashed out of the 2010 World Cup, there was plenty of doom and gloom for good reason: There didn't seem any alternative to the so-called Golden Generation.
Defeat to Germany in South Africa was the death knell for that group of players, and while a few linger, England's future this time out looks far more positive.
A group of players is emerging that will take England forward in the coming years, with Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge at the forefront.
What's more, these players are all of a similar age and will mature together. That means that over the next decade or so, England's team will take shape in the way other world leaders have seen theirs.
Not only that, but these players are dynamic and exciting to watch. They are the new breed of footballer.
It may be painful now, but it cannot be denied that for once, England may well have the talent to compete in the modern game.
Roy Hodgson's Continued Reign as England Manager
After a brief spell as Blackburn Rovers manager in 1997, Roy Hodgson's reputation in his homeland didn't quite live up to his status on the continent, where success in Sweden, Italy and elsewhere saw him held in high regard.
It took a return to English football with Fulham 10 years later for him to earn the respect of his peers. Since then, he has made a considerable impact on English football.
Since taking the England manager's job in 2012, just before the European Championships in Ukraine and Poland, he has gradually developed the England team to the point where their style is unrecognizable from what he inherited.
Whereas England were once a team content to sit back and soak up pressure, Hodgson's side is far more proactive. We've seen at this World Cup how England want to take the game to their opponents and are eager to play on the front foot.
In terms of the team's evolution, it may have come a year or two early, but as this team grows, so too will their resolve and ability to transform promising displays into victories.
In the aftermath of the Uruguay defeat, Hodgson has been adamant he will not resign from his post, per BBC Sport. If he's true to his word, that will be good news for all of England. The Three Lions need a coach of his ilk, and he has shown he is the right man to get England back to the top of world football.
The World Cup has been disappointing results-wise, but it shouldn't mean Hodgson is replaced.
In two years, there's another international tournament with which to contend.
Should England qualify for Euro 2016, we can be sure the results will be far more positive than what we have seen in Brazil this summer.
This team will have enjoyed a further two years together, with the old guard moving on and exciting youngsters taking over the mantle. The experience from the World Cup will have served them well, and the likes of Raheem Sterling should be among the most exciting stars of the European game.
If England continue their development, they will be a team to watch.
Italy vs. Costa Rica and Uruguay
If there were any England fans only interested in the World Cup to follow their country, well, suddenly Group D has become exciting for them.
It may be for the wrong reasons, but England fans are going to be glued to their TV sets when Italy face Costa Rica on Friday afternoon, hoping the Italians will do enough to claim a victory.
Then comes Judgement Day, with Italy facing Uruguay in Natal at the same time England face off with Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.
It will be like Premier League survival day, with fans flicking between the channels at home or listening intently on their radios in the stadium, hoping for the Azzurri to do them a considerable favor in defeating Uruguay.
For those well versed in utilizing their smartphone, they may well even be using Bleacher Report's Team Stream app to keep up with all the action.
One thing is for certain, though: Italy's games now have an added importance, and every fan of England will be relishing them.
The New Premier League Season
OK, so our final slide isn't exactly focused on the England team, but fans of the Three Lions have the consolation of seeing the new Premier League season on the horizon.
The fixtures for 2014-15 were published this week, and anticipation is already building.
The Premier League is the finest league in the world, packing excitement, drama and plot twists every week to keep us all entertained for nine months.
Should England's defeat to Uruguay ultimately end with them being knocked out of the World Cup in the group stage, the disappointment can be lifted somewhat by focusing on club football and anticipating another fine season in England.
But for all those Three Lions fans out there, let's hope any focus on domestic football remains on the periphery for some time yet.