Suarez breaks our hearts

Photo David Hurst'England fans in the Halfway House, Squires Gate, Blackpool. 'Colin Gardner and Kirk Ham cheer as England come close
Photo David Hurst'England fans in the Halfway House, Squires Gate, Blackpool. 'Colin Gardner and Kirk Ham cheer as England come close
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Down but not out - that’s the still optimistic view from fans in Blackpool of England’s World Cup chances after last night’s depressing defeat to Uruguay.

Teens, couples, families and seasoned football fans all rubbed shoulders in the Halfway House on St Annes Road as Roy’s boys took on the South American side.

Despite a 2-1 loss to Italy on Saturday, hopes were high going in to the game and any threats the opponent’s star player Luis Suarez, forward for Liverpool FC, might have posed were played down.

It was almost impossible for Everton fan Paul Pritchard, 26, to conceal his bias: “They’ve got Suarez, and he’s done a lot for the Premier League but Uruguay are a one-man team still.”

“England played well on Saturday,” said Mark Hegarty, 49, watching with daughter Claire, 23. “And Suarez isn’t fully fit...”

But Suarez’s name was quickly mentioned again.

Thirty-eight minutes in and the striker broke England hearts, and some spirits, with a first half header.

“That’s our worst nightmare,” said Stuart Patterson, 50, a lifelong Blackpool fan and patient England fan. “If anyone was going to score it was going to be him.

“They need to keep him quiet now.”

Pint-size pundit Beth Gardner, 13, thought England still had plenty of fight in them though.

She said: “We’re playing the better half. 2-1 to England is still doable.”

Though the teen’s full-time score was spot on it wasn’t in her country’s favour.

After hitting the bar with a header and seeing a left foot shot well-saved by Uruguay’s keeper, Wayne Rooney finally found the back of the net in the 74th minute, bringing England level.

The pub erupted as flags, wigs, and even children were waved in the air to celebrate.

It took less than 10 minutes for Suarez to make his mark again though and put Uruguay up to 2-1.

Former Blackpool striker Ricky Lambert was brought on for the last few minutes as England desperately searched for an equaliser but it was to no avail.

Five minutes of extra time was just enough to pull back for a draw - according to Beth, that is - but England now face a miracle to reach the next stage.

A final cheer of support was mustered but many had already left for home.

“We’ll never give up,” said manageress Jo Gardner.