A “broken” Steven Gerrard is in no position to make an immediate decision on international retirement, with the England captain requiring a couple of weeks to contemplate his future.
Despite heading to Brazil more in hope more than expectation, few could have imagined the Three Lions’ elimination would be confirmed before most teams had played their second matches.
Defeats to Italy and Uruguay were compounded by Costa Rica’s victories over both of those sides, condemning England to a first group-stage exit since 1958.
It is a failure that has hurt skipper Gerrard and has brought forward the questions over his international future.
The 34-year-old Liverpool midfielder said in the build-up that he would make a decision whether to continue after the World Cup, but, with their exit confirmed, the subject came up before tomorrow’s dead-rubber against Costa Rica.
“There’s no truth that I’ll be making any announcement within a week,” Gerrard said. “I think I need more time.
“I spoke to the manager this morning and asked him for some time over the summer to consider my future. I certainly won’t be rushing into any decision.
“I don’t feel it is right to make a decision now or in a week’s time. I am still hurting very bad. I’m broken from what has gone on over the last couple of weeks.
“So I need to get away, get on holiday and basically clear my head before I make that big decision.”
Pushed on whether he had a hunch which way the decision was likely to go, Gerrard said: “Not at the moment. I need time.
“I have agreed with the manager that I will speak to him in a few weeks’ time.
“I need to speak to numerous other people who I respect, who will help me and guide me the right way to make a decision. But it is big and I will make it in due course.”
Gerrard spoke alongside manager Roy Hodgson at a packed press conference at the Urca military base, where the midfielder hit back out at assertions the team had been too cosy.
“I understand there are going to be opinions all over the country, different opinions, some backing us moving forwards, some against us,” he said.
“I totally respect that and I am not really in a position to fight some negative opinions at the moment.
“But I have to disagree that the squad has been cosy. We got worked very hard in Portugal and Miami and the preparation as a player certainly means there are no excuses.
“We did everything we can to be able to come out here and perform, do well, but unfortunately it hasn’t happened.”
Meanwhile, Hodgson remains confident he is the right man to manage England, despite overseeing the team’s first World Cup group stage exit since 1958.
“I think the players reacted to the work we have done,” he said, when asked why he was the right man to carry on.
“I think the fact we have brought in so many young players at the last minute, we didn’t even have some of these players in November so has been quite a late emergence.
“I think the players are a very, very strong group, a solid group. I believe they are more than accepting of the work we are trying to do, they share our belief, they share our goals, they share our vision.
“As a result of the backing of the FA and the people around me, I feel I am the right man to continue.”
Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp, the man Hodgson beat to the England job claims some players don’t want to play for their country.
He highlighted his experiences of managing England players while at Tottenham, saying: “I still think we go to tournaments, whether it be under-17s, under-19s, under-21s, there are too many pull-outs, it seems to be everyone has got an excuse, and I can tell you when I was at Tottenham, when full internationals came around, there were two or three players who did not want to play for England.
“They would come to me 10 days before the game and say, ‘Gaffer, get me out of that game, I don’t want to play in that game’.
“That was how it was. I’d say, ‘you’re playing for your country, you should want to play’.
“(They would say) ‘Nah, my girlfriend is having a baby in four weeks, I don’t want to play’ and that is the truth, so it makes you wonder.
“And I think it’s only going to get worse.
“You see the stick the England players get and they come home, they’re earning fantastic money at their clubs, they’re all playing in the Champions League.
“They think, ‘Do we need the aggro?’”