Same result, different tournament as England crash out of World Cup 2014
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Given the tough group in which England were enlisted into, few expected anything other than progression beyond that as a mark of relative achievement. Expectation then, were kept sensibly low. That England will fly home tomorrow having failed to jump the qualifying distance shows just how poor they were during a torrid World Cup week. After some initial encouragement against Italy, England's performance took a dramatic downturn come the arrival of Uruguay. A shell shocked England were out before they could even line-up against Costa Rica, a fixture looked upon previously as the banker that would confirm their place in the second round. Ultimately, it amounted to nothing more than a glorified friendly. England were happy to banish any fears of a first pointless group stage exit for twenty years, with Costa Rica content to play out the draw that would confirm them as surely the most unlikely group winners of this World Cup and many before it. Picking apart England's campaign, there are countless areas which need addressing if they wish to show signs of progression come the beginning of Euro qualifications in September. Wayne Rooney has come under some considerable fire during this tournament after a series of laboured performances in the number 10 role. His position in the team must surely now be called into question. Rooney is not, and never will be, David Silva. By far his strongest position is the traditional number 9 role. He must either be given that position as head of a 4-3-3, or consigned to the bench to battle Daniel Sturridge for it. Frank Lampard's token starting berth versus Costa Rica surely came more as one final hurrah than any need for Hodgson to assess his place in future squads. Steven Gerrard, for years an England stalwart, may not be too close behind him. He has yet to confirm his intentions going into Euro 2016, but his continued involvement in and around a squad hoping to further embrace youth could be a vital tool for Hodgson to utilise if and when he requires it. Certainly, Gerrard's performances have left much to be desired during this tournament, and its clear his position as first name on the team sheet is now under serious threat.
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