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Bad boys win tournaments, Rooney says
Question of the Day
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Striker Wayne Rooney says teams that succeed at the World Cup are nasty and cynical and England needs to play that way if it wants to win.
“You look at teams who have won the tournament over previous years and you can see that nastiness in them,” the England attacker said Saturday. “I think we have to get that in us. We’re maybe we’re too honest, I feel, as a team.”
According to Rooney, being honest counted against England in the 2-1 loss to Uruguay on Thursday that knocked them out of the tournament.
“They committed I don’t know how many fouls, clever fouls, really, which slow the game down,” he said. “I think we’re a bit honest in terms of the way we play. It’s small margins, but those small things can amount to a big thing in terms of staying in the competition or going out.”
England is already out of contention after losses to Italy and Uruguay, its run lasting less than a week. Not since 1958 had England failed to make it to the second round of a World Cup.
Rooney pointed to England’s failure to put pressure on the referee to send off Uruguay’s Diego Godin, who avoided a second yellow card despite fouling Daniel Sturridge.
“You see players surrounding the referees - I’m not saying Uruguay did that - but I’m the same now. I want to win the game,” Rooney said. “I got kicked 10 times and I don’t think there was a yellow card given to an opponent. We try and be honest, but maybe that’s a fault.”
England faces its final game in Group D against surprise leader Coast Rica on Tuesday.
“It’s vital we take the pain we are feeling now and remember that and the next tournament we don’t want to feel that again,” Rooney said.
“It’s difficult for us, but more for the fans. What is it? 48 years (without a trophy)? It’s tough, each tournament going into it … we’ve let them down.”
Rooney has seen signs of progress under Roy Hodgson, who took charge before Euro 2012, where England lost the quarterfinals in a shootout.
There is unlikely to be any change in the dugout. Hodgson is set to remain in charge, with the FA asking the coach to see out his contract to the 2016 European Championship.
“Roy has brought a lot of youth and excitement into the team,” Rooney said. “It hasn’t worked out for us in this tournament, but he’s certainly got his plans set in place for us in the next two years.”
Rooney, who scored against Uruguay to finally end his World Cup goal drought, will hope to be back at the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
“I will play for England until I am not selected,” Rooney said. “I believe I’ve got many years left in me. I feel good.”
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