England and Uruguay clash at 8pm on Thursday in the Arena Corinthians, São Paulo. It is a crucial game for both teams as a loss will effectively end their chances of progression to the knockout stages. England are coming off the back of a disappointing loss to the Italians and in one of the shocks of the tournament Uruguay suffered a surprise 3-1 loss to the Costa Ricans.
The English media were generally pleased with their side’s display against Italy. Liverpool duo Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge looked England’s most dangerous players in attack for Roy Hodgson’s side. Italy just shaded the encounter and deserved their 2-1 win with Mario Balotelli scoring the winner. England may have to address the left hand side of their team with Wayne Rooney and Leighton Baines struggling to deal with Torino full back Darmian and Lazio midfielder Antonio Candreva.
Uruguay suffered a surprising 3-1 loss to Costa Rica and their defence was exposed for its lack of pace by the lively Joel Campbell. Their captain Diego Lugano looked comfortable in the first half as the game was played at a slower tempo but as the pace of the game quickened the Uruguay captain struggled to adapt and England will look to target him.
Luis Suarez: The Man They Need The Most
In their hour of need against Costa Rica, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez decided not to risk the Liverpool striker. It is expected that the Uruguay will go with a striking duo of Cavani alongside Suarez.
This is a Uruguayan side that lacks creativity and invention and it is pivotal that Suarez starts this game. The Liverpool striker has been Uruguay’s main man for a number of years winning the 2011 Copa America player of the tournament and he is also their record goal scorer with 39 goals.
The Wayne Rooney Conundrum
Rooney has scored 39 goals for England but has still failed to score in a World Cup finals. The Manchester United striker is clearly unhappy playing in a wide role and Hodgson’s decision to play him there saw Leighton Baines struggle to deal with Candreva and Darmian who were Italy’s main attacking outlet. Rooney did however produce a magnificent assist for Daniel Sturridge but missed a great chance when Baines put him in.
Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling put in a magnificent performance in Rooney’s favoured position playing in the Manchester United striker with a sublime pass to get him in on the left and he provided the assist for Sturridge to finish. Uruguay will be without first choice right back Maxi Pereira so England may opt to utilize Sterling on the left in a potential problem area for Uruguay.
Possible Starting XI
England: Hart, Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines, Gerrard, Henderson, Welbeck, Rooney, Sterling, Sturridge.
Uruguay: Muslera, Fucile ,Coates,Godin, Caceras, Stuani, Arevalo, Gargano, Rodriguez, Suarez,Cavani
Cavani & Suarez v Cahill & Jagielka
England’s left side struggled the last day but Uruguay do have a player on the right side with the quality the Italians possess. Uruguay are expected to play a 4-4-2 formation and it will be important that Steven Gerrard provides protection for England’s defence as they if they are isolated with Cavani and Suarez it could prove disastrous for Roy Hodgson’s side.
Daniel Sturridge V Diego Godin
If England can isolate this matchup, they can penetrate this Uruguayan defence. Uruguay will more than likely play a deep line but as the game progresses the spaces should open up and Sturridge is a striker who thrives in behind and with Lugano out. Diego Godin will be expected to deal with Sturridge. Godin is an uncompromising defender who had a great year at Athletico Madrid, Uruguay will hope for a big game from the 28-year-old.
England should enjoy more possession in this game when compared to the Italian game. Uruguay are likely to go with a 4-4-2 formation and will look to stifle this England team and then try to break with Cavani and Suarez. England have struggled in the past with teams that pack their defence and they may struggle to break down this Uruguayan team.that underestimated Costa Rica.
However, with Luis Suarez not fully fit this may just edge it in England’s favour. A 1-1 draw would be unsurprising but this writer is edging towards England on a scoreline of 2-1 in what should be an intriguing battle.
Dan Dalton, Pundit Arena.