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May 29, 2017

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Suarez double puts England on the brink

SAO PAULO -- Luis Suarez returned from injury to torpedo England's World Cup hopes with a brilliant double strike as Uruguay won 2-1 to leave Roy Hodgson's side on the brink of elimination Thursday.

Suarez left hospital in a wheelchair only a month ago after keyhole surgery on his left knee, but he grabbed opportunistic goals in both halves to push England towards their earliest exit in 56 years.

The Liverpool marksman nodded Uruguay in front on 39 minutes before under-fire Wayne Rooney ended his World Cup jinx with his first ever goal in the tournament with 15 minutes remaining.

But Suarez pounced on a long ball which skidded off the head of England captain Steven Gerrard and he smashed home the winner before celebrating wildly in front of the Uruguayan fans.

Suarez, frequently criticized over his controversial history, which includes bans for racism and biting, said it was a "dream" result after battling back to fitness.

"It was a dream afternoon because we won, because of the way we won, and for what the rival meant to me, for everything that was said, the doubts, and this was a way to demonstrate everything I wanted to prove," he said.

But for England, who lost their Group D opener 2-1 to Italy it was a nightmare evening which left them relying on the Azzurri beating Costa Rica on Friday to stay in the competition.

"Our chance is unbelievably slim," said Hodgson, who added that he had no intention of resigning. "I'm bitterly disappointed, of course, but I don't feel I need to resign, no."

Despite familiar temperatures of 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit), England started nervously and after conceding an early corner, goalkeeper Joe Hart had to beat away Suarez's place-kick at his near post.

But England's pacey forwards were soon causing problems and when Daniel Sturridge drew a foul for handball near the penalty area, Rooney's free-kick curled agonizingly wide.

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