Editor’s blog: it’s OK, England can still top the group

England-Red-Shirt-SMALLDefeat against Italy last night means England face an uphill struggle to win Group D, but as long as they win their next two games, it’s still possible. 

Roy Hodgson’s team next play on Thursday night, this time against Uruguay.

England lost 2-1 against Italy in their opening game last night, even though Daniel Sturridge scored a sublime goal, raising England’s hopes.

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Costa Rica’s impressive 3-1 win over Uruguay is what could really help England overcome the odds and not only qualify for the knockout stage, but top the group.

Their three points means that the group is wide open and they top the group, something that few expected before the contest began.

England can top the group if they win both of their next two games and Italy and Costa Rica draw.

If that happens, the maximum points Uruguay can get is just 3 (1 win, 2 defeats), Costa Rica will have 4 (1 win, 1 draw, 1 defeat). Italy could have up to 9 (3 wins).

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For England to top the group, they need Italy to draw against both Costa Rica and Uruguay, giving Italy 5 points, Costa Rica 4 points and Uruguay just 1 point.

If England draw on Thursday, they need to beat Costa Rica and hope that Italy beat both Costa Rica and Uruguay. If they do, then England can still qualify in second place.

In that scenario, Italy will have 9 points, England 4, Costa Rica 3 and Uruguay 1.

And with Uruguay’s Maximiliano Pereira sent off in injury time, he is suspended from Thursday’s game against England, giving the team a boost. However, Raheem Sterling received a yellow card against Italy. 

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