MOMENTS of skill and nous from Luis Suarez might have won the match but it was England’s lack of those match-winning attributes that may have sealed their place on the earliest flight home.
It was an all too familiar story. The near miss, the refereeing decision that might have changed everything, but ultimately another tale of failure – it was as if we had been here before.
Diego Godin, already on a booking for the most deliberate of handballs, should have been sent off for his cynical block of Daniel Sturridge. The maligned Wayne Rooney should have opened the scoring from one of the few England set-piece deliveries that posed a threat but rattled the crossbar.
Those decisive split-seconds had us all screaming at the television, cursing our luck once again.
But amid the frustration, we need a reality check. It’s not just a case of considering who will produce the deft finish which Suarez so beautifully drifted beyond the grasp of Joe Hart for the opener.
It is as much about how will England replicate Nicolas Lodeiro’s crisp pass, or Edinson Cavani’s close control and sweet floated cross against the world’s top nations.
Those snapshots of true quality under the microscope of the globe's greatest stage separate the men from the boys.
England’s undoubted effort and endeavour needed to be matched with calmness and conviction, an elixir we have so frequently found it so hard to concoct at the big tournaments.
While questions were asked in the immediate aftermath of Uruguay’s sumptuous opener, closer scrutiny revealed a perfectly-executed goal, a moment of total opportunism in a cagey and, at times, fraught opening half an hour.
It didn’t take a master tactician to work out what would come next.
Two solid banks of four sat deep, safe in the knowledge that England were unlikely to rewrite such poetry.
Tenacious as ever, though, a quick pass from Sturridge set Glen Johnson away who, despite a heavy touch, was brave enough to crash the ball through for Rooney’s tap-in.
It was fitting punishment for the South Americans who had retreated a little too far as England, despite the odd naive moment, at least retained their youthful, energetic edge.
Buoyant England were now dangerous and vibrant but for all their promise, never looked likely to find that killer touch when it mattered most.
Then, of course, came the obligatory sucker punch. Cherries fans would wince at the prospect of Lee Camp’s net bulging from such a simple, direct ball, let alone witnessing such horror at a World Cup.
Steven Gerrard got caught under the ball and Suarez, seemingly primed for the error, needed no second invite. It was like he had seen it coming.
The sad fact is that somehow, we all did.
England might have one last shot of escaping the group but whatever happens, the age old inadequacies remain.