The defeat doesn't put Roy Hodgson's side out of the finals, though it does leave them needing to beat Costa Rica by a significant score if Italy win their two remaining matches.
England started the match at a pace and went close to breaking the deadlock in the 10th minute as Rooney – playing through the middle – bent a delicious free-kick just over the bar from around 20 yards.
Uruguay quickly hit back and Chistian Rodriguez should have done better with a wayward shot that flew high and wide from the corner of England’s penalty box.
Edison Cavani wasted an excellent chance in the 27th minute when his shot from Luis Suarez’s pass was sent into the stands from a promising position inside the area. Just a few moments later, at the other end, Rooney latched on to Steven Gerrard’s cross at the far post to bravely head onto the bar.
England continued to press but were undone by a counter attack in the 39th minute as Cavani’s brilliantly lofted cross found Suarez, who nodded past Joe Hart. Reacting well, Daniel Sturridge forced a fine save from Fernando Muslera before half-time.
Suarez almost scored again at the start of the second half when his direct corner forced a panicked save from Hart, who watched another shot from Cavani float around the post just