World Cup 2014: Roy Hodgson - no regrets over England strategy

By Phil McNultyChief football writer in Rio
Suarez scores twice as England lose 2-1 at the World Cup

England manager Roy Hodgson insists he has no regrets about his World Cup strategy despite his side's early exit.

After losing their first two group games, England's demise was confirmed when Costa Rica beat Italy 1-0.

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It is the first time since 1958 that England have been knocked out at the group phases of the competition.

Asked, before England's exit was confirmed, whether he had any regrets about the way he had approached the tournament, he responded: "No."

He added: "Results colour everything. We've worked so hard, done so much preparation for this tournament. We think we came here well prepared but we've failed.

"We obviously had really big hopes we were going to make the nation proud by going far in the tournament and we haven't done that, so any words on any other subjects are pretty empty at the moment."

The 66-year-old and his players will conclude their programme in Brazil with a dead rubber against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

Hodgson has tried to put a gloss on England's exit by predicting a bright future under an emerging group of new youngsters.

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Liverpool teenager Raheem Sterling and Everton youngster Ross Barkley have hinted at promise to come, while Southampton defender Luke Shaw and Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may get an opportunity to make an impression against Costa Rica.

Defenders John Stones and Jon Flanagan, who play for Everton and Liverpool respectively, also made a good impression during England's World Cup training camp in Miami before flying home.

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"I don't think there's any need to doubt this England group of players will go on to do good things in the time ahead," said Hodgson.

"I believe the team going forward will be a very good team. I think there are good young players. Even against Uruguay, we saw some good individual performances and the young ones that came on did quite well."

It seems likely that England captain Steven Gerrard and veteran Frank Lampard will announce their international retirement at the end of the World Cup, while there will be doubts over the long-term futures of a host of other players, including Everton captain Phil Jagielka and Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson.

Hodgson, who has been given the full support of Football Association chairman Greg Dyke to take England forward to Euro 2016, added: "I'm very low and so are the players, We had high hopes.

"We thought we could make an impact, but unfortunately we haven't won the games. We've lost both of our games."

Roy Hodgson and Greg Dyke
FA Chairman Greg Dyke made a cut-throat gesture when England's World Cup group was drawn

Hodgson still defended England's players, even though they will face fierce criticism for the premature end to their World Cup. It is the first time England have ever lost their opening two games at the tournament.

"I'm proud of the way they've approached this tournament and everything they put into it," he added. "At the moment, I'm just devastated they've got nothing out of it.

Against Uruguay, England were undone by one of the Premier League's world-class imports in Liverpool's Luis Suarez, who scored twice in Thursday's 2-1 defeat in Sao Paulo.

Dyke and the FA want the top flight to be a breeding ground for more home-grown talent for the national team, not just a home for the world's elite players.

Hodgson accepts that the lack of English players cutting through might make his job harder but argues that up and coming talent in England could be benefitting from playing with the best around.

"Maybe they're learning from the talent these people bring," he said. "Who knows? Maybe in a perverse way they will get better as a result."


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