World Cup Group D preview: Uruguay v England

Uruguay take on England in Sao Paolo on Friday June 20 at 5am (AEST).

Two teams reeling following their respective Matchday One losses will be looking to keep their World Cup flame alive when they lock horns inside the Arena Corinthians.

Make no mistake about it - one of these footballing giants is set to miss out.


Played 10: Uruguay 4 wins, England 3 wins, 3 draws.

The Three Lions and La Celeste have had nothing between them throughout the course of time.

They last met in 2006, when a Sven-Goran Eriksson led England prevailed 2-1 at Anfield. Precious little separated the sides on that day, which neither side will want to replicate if they are to harbour any hope of progressing.

The Game

Much will rest on each team’s composure and adeptness with immense pressure in this make or break tussle.

Uruguay self-imploded and had its suspect defence exposed by Costa Rica, which will need to be mended very quickly if it is to nail down England’s notable forward quartet.

Less than inspiring going forward, they will need to rectify this in order to score their first goal in open play and fully exhibit their renowned attacking arsenal.

England have been largely encouraged in the aftermath of their showing against Italy, in spite of the less than ideal result.

Notwithstanding their ability to fashion a number of promising openings, for long parts they gave Italy too much of the ball and allowed them to play their game without many restrictions. This nullified their capacity to create more and left them vulnerable to conceding, which the second goal against them demonstrated.

With everything on the line, there will be no room for passengers.

The big issue

Wayne Rooney’s role: Many were left scratching their heads with Rooney’s positioning against the Azzurri.

The Manchester United ace played on the left flank in an unfamiliar role and apart from the odd moment seldom got himself into the game.

Calls for him to be given a more central role seem as if they will be heeded in an attempt to improve his scoreless streak at World Cups, which has now eclipsed 590 minutes.

The game breaker

Luis Suarez is no stranger to English faces. The Premier League Golden Boot winner, who was an unused substitute against Costa Rica has the incomparable ability to turn matches on their heads and win them off his own boot.

Having trained well since Sunday and declaring himself 100% fit, he will be eager to torment his opposition’s defence and respond to comments made by Roy Hodgson earlier in the week.

The England boss claimed that the Uruguayan still has a lot to prove at the highest level, despite his Premier League exploits.

Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan’s banal showings against Costa Rica places further importance on the Liverpool man’s shoulders to step up and get his team through.

Prediction: Uruguay 2 England 2 

Goals will be certain in a fixture that will see a plethora of offensive-minded players.

England’s Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck all showed what they can do when allowed to play and will look to atone for their spurned opportunities with goals this time round.

Oscar Tabarez’s men cannot afford to flop once more and will seek to redeem themselves in all areas of the park.

Risks will be taken and, with both sides possessing similar strengths and weaknesses at either ends of the park, expect a highly-entertaining draw.