Heading to Brazil, Wayne Rooney was England's fifth best scorer of all time with 39 international goals over his career. Yet at the World Cup he seemed physically incapable of putting the ball in the net. England's second group stage match against Uruguay marked Rooney's 10th World Cup game over three tournaments and he started it off with three near misses that made the already crushing pressure on him grow infinitely heavier.
But then, down 1-0 in the 75th minute and growing queasy as the possibility of zero points from its first two matches become more and more realistic, Rooney finally snapped whatever jinx or cosmic block that has afflicted him all these years. He cleaned up a loose ball in the box, slotting it past Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera to experience a sense of relief few other humans are likely to feel.
But to get a better sense of just how exhilerating that moment must have been for Rooney, first you have to see his misses from earlier in the match. In the 10th minute, he had a free kick in excellent scoring position, but curled just over the top corner.
Then in the 30th minute, he came flying right into the goal, heading the ball off the cross bar from point-blank range as he ended up in the net himself.
Then early in the second half, he just couldn't get it past Muslera, again from close range.
Rooney's joy after finally scoring was shortlived, though. Luis Suarez scored a second goal for Uruguay in the 84th minute, giving it a 2-1 win and leaving England at the bottom of Group D as the only team with no points.
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