Instead Roy Hodgson's side can only hope that Italy do them a favour by defeating Costa Rica this evening and give them a chance of resurrecting their ambitions of progressing in their final group match. That will come against the Costa Ricans next week.
There might have been more focus on that fixture last night had Luis Suarez not been hogging the limelight. Two goals from the Liverpool striker did for England as they faltered to defeat in Sao Paulo, with Wayne Rooney's inaugural World Cup goal now little more than a footnote. He turned in a shot from close range after 75 minutes.
It was an equaliser. A lifeline. It later became meaningless, as Suarez seized control. The Uruguay striker underwent an operation on his knee a little over a month ago and there remained speculation about his fitness throughout the match last night. He provided an definitive response too, scoring in each half and only withdrawing when he was replaced with just two minutes to go.
He left with England on the brink of elimination. They suffered for an inefficiency in attack - Rooney scored once but missed with another chance, as did Steven Gerard - and also for a lack of conviction in their defending. No team in World Cup history has gone through after two defeats and there will be searching questions asked of their defenders, as Suarez caused them problems all through the match.
His first touch was greeted with jeers from England supporters but he would silence them six minutes from half-time. Gerrard lost the ball on the halfway line and, England committed upfield, Uruguay were able to hit on the counter. Glen Johnson allowed Edinson Cavani enough time and space to deliver a cross over the head of Gary Cahill, with Suarez nodding in expertly.
England found hope after the break when Johnson, unimpressive in his role as full-back, slipped a pass through the legs of Alvaro Gonzalez to Rooney, who prodded home.
Hodgson's side went for the killer second goal but were instead left gutted by Suarez. Gerrard could only flick on a long punt back towards his own goal and Suarez raced on to the ball, burrowing into the England penalty area to score. What else could England expect?