Football

Hodgson: We'll win 
our next two games

Roy Hodgson is convinced England will qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup, if they repeat their performance against Italy in the final two group games.

The Three Lions were defeated 2-1 by the Italians, but they were unlucky not to claim at least a point in a thrilling clash in Manaus yesterday morning (Singapore time).

England went for the kill from the off, with Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge all launching blistering attacks that had Italy on the ropes.

Unfortunately for Hodgson (above), Italy exposed England's defensive weaknesses to inflict a damaging defeat, courtesy of goals from Claudio Marchisio and Mario Balotelli.

Hodgson admits England may have to win both their remaining games against Uruguay and Costa Rica, but he is confident that the team will do it.

"We had a very young and inexperienced team on the field at the end, but they made some bold moves and didn't let anyone down," the England manager said. "That gives me great hope and confidence.

"If we can continue at that level, we can go on and win both matches and stay in the tournament.

"You don't win your next two matches if you win the first, and you don't necessarily lose your last two matches because you lost the first.

"We will prepare for them and we will try and do our best to get the wins."

THRILLING

With Uruguay losing their opening game against Costa Rica, they too need to win on Friday morning and Hodgson predicts another thrilling match in Sao Paulo.

"It is likely to be a similar encounter to the Italy game - it will be cut and thrust," he said.

"There will be two teams who have lost the opening game and know they have to win the next one."

The good news for England is that Uruguay looked incredibly vulnerable to pace in their shock 3-1 defeat by Costa Rica.

The bad news for England is that Uruguay striker Luis Suarez is closing in on a return to full fitness, after sitting on the bench throughout the Costa Rica loss with a knee injury.

Sturridge and Steven Gerrard looked to be struggling at the end of the match, but Hodgson reported no fresh fitness concerns.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stepped up his rehabilitation from a knee injury over the weekend and he could be in the frame to face Uruguay.

England's only injury in Manaus came to physio Gary Lewin, who broke and dislocated his ankle after landing on a water bottle celebrating Sturridge's equaliser.

Hodgson's only other concern is that some of his players suffered cramps in the dying stages of the Italy match.

"Quite a few of our players cramped up. That is something we will look into," Hodgson said.

"We have worked very hard on hydration and we still did cramp up quite a lot." - PA Sport.

World Cup