Tabarez: Cavani stopped Gerrard from playing

Luis Suarez stole the show with two goals which have left England needing a miracle to progress but his coach also paid tribute to the Paris Saint-Germain striker

By Kris Voakes in Sao Paulo

The defensive effort of Edinson Cavani in shutting down Steven Gerrard proved crucial in Uruguay’s win over England on Thursday, according to Oscar Tabarez.

Luis Suarez stole the show on his return from injury, finishing his only two chances of the match clinically either side of a Wayne Rooney goal to keep Uruguay’s qualification hopes alive and leave England needing a miracle to progress.

But after the match Tabarez was keen to credit Cavani who, aside from creating the first goal for Suarez with a pinpoint cross, diligently tracked Gerrard out of possession.

“England doesn’t have weaknesses, they are very strong, have incredible midfield and have four strikers who are all goalscorers,” Tabarez told reporters.

“But we played very well and Cavani played a very important role to counter that. Gerrard couldn’t play his game because Cavani was stopping him, so today they had more difficulties than normal.

“I think that was the key to the game. England are a wonderful team and are dangerous opponents, that’s why we’re so pleased to have won.”

Tabarez was also buoyed at seeing his team end a 15-game losing streak against European opposition so soon after the disappointment of shock defeat to Costa Rica.

“If this was a movie, people probably couldn’t have wished for a better result,” he added. “We have been able to beat a European team after a long, long time. Many people said we wouldn’t be able to do so.

“Both goals were scored by Luis Suarez, a player who was injured a month ago and had to go through surgery. We are not qualified yet for the next stage. However, we are happy we get some fresh air.”

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