World Cup 2014: England seek atonement against Costa Rica
Rio de Janeiro: England return to Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, scene of the country’s greatest sporting humiliation, where they will attempt to restore pride against Costa Rica after another chastening World Cup experience.
Belo Horizonte’s Estadio Independencia provided the setting for England’s sensational 1-0 loss to the part-timers of the United States at the 1950 World Cup — a game latterly dubbed ‘The Miracle Match’.
Sixty-four years on, England are braced for another day to forget in the city, although with Tuesday’s game taking place at the Estadio Mineirao, they will at least be spared a reunion with the ghosts of 1950.Roy Hodgson’s side had hoped to be heading into their final Group D fixture vying for a last-16 place, but their tournament is already over after consecutive 2-1 defeats by Italy and Uruguay.
Instead, Costa Rica who have secured a berth in the knockout phase, thanks to stunning wins over the two teams who accounted for England, and the Central Americans now require a point to claim top spot.
England striker Wayne Rooney has called on his side to “restore some pride” on Tuesday, but Hodgson says that his chief priority will be to give playing time to those players who have watched from the sidelines until now.
“I’m going to be picking (the team) with a view that all the players who are with us get some minutes on the field,” Hodgson told a press conference in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
“I will be changing the team to give others a chance to show what they can do. It’s not purely planning for the future and not purely sentiment.
“It’s to give players a chance to go home from this World Cup — too early, bitterly disappointed — but to be able to say they weren’t here to make up the numbers, they actually took part.”
Hodgson has revealed that Leighton Baines and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will both miss the match through injury, while Frank Lampard is expected to come into the team for captain Steven Gerrard.