Steven Gerrard's frustration was overwhelmingly evident after England were overturned 2-1 by a Luis Suarez-inspired Uruguay, but the captain continued to clutch a 'small glimmer of hope'.
The Liverpool No.7 was in destructive mode against the Three Lions, heading home an inch-perfect opener and then settling the match with a searing blast with five minutes left on the clock.
His punishing double, sandwiching what proved to be mere consolation from Wayne Rooney, left Roy Hodgson's team with a mountain to climb if they are to progress from World Cup Group D.
England now need Italy to win each of their remaining fixtures - with Costa Rica and Uruguay - and secure a clear victory themselves when they face the former next Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.
"That's not it, mathematically - there's still a small glimmer of hope," Gerrard commented after the final whistle. "But, of course, we're in a very difficult position in the group.
"We're relying on other people and it's exactly the position we didn't want to find ourselves in. But it's here and we have to take responsibility for where we are.
"Of course, we'll be professional and see what happens over the next four or five days, to see whether we've got a chance going into the last game. It's very disappointing after two defeats.
"We have lost two games and we've conceded goals, so defensively over the two games, as a team we need to improve. Over the two games, the performances haven't been poor, they haven't been bad - there have been some good moments. But it is very frustrating."
England were ultimately undone by the finishing prowess witnessed on a weekly basis at Anfield, with Suarez cool and merciless when presented with the opportunities to strike.
The Uruguayan embraced his club captain once the encounter had concluded, and Gerrard was graciously generous with his praise for the 27-year-old post-match.
"He's world-class, he's deadly in front of goal; he's clever, he's cute," said the 34-year-old. "He nearly scored off two corners and he got two other chances to be clinical.
"He took them both and this is a player who hasn't played for five weeks. Everyone in the dressing room was well aware of Luis and his ability. It was certainly his night."