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Game of the Day: England v Uruguay (World Cup 2014)
Updated 10:36am Thursday 19th June 2014 in Sport
It’s not quite all or nothing as it’s possible that a draw could still be good enough if Costa Rica are beaten on Tuesday, but it feels like an evening that will effectively seal England’s World Cup fate.
Saturday’s defeat to Italy has turned up the heat, and for all that there were plenty of positives to take from Manaus, England will have to defend much better.
Further forward, the Wayne Rooney conundrum still needs solving, with Roy Hodgson set to move the attacker to a more central role.
KEY MAN: WAYNE ROONEY
It is a question that has been asked at each of the last three World Cups – what should England do with Wayne Rooney?
Saturday’s experiment of fielding the Manchester United forward in a wide left role did not go to plan, so it’s been back to the drawing board for Roy Hodgson this week.
Having quickly ruled out the option of dropping Rooney to the substitutes’ bench, Hodgson is poised to play England’s number ten behind Daniel Sturridge, giving him freedom to roam. Can Rooney finally deliver on the World Cup stage?
While England were at least able to take some positives from their opening fixture, Uruguay’s implosion against Costa Rica left them in a state of despair.
Uruguay were ripped apart in the second half, with their defensive inadequacies,most notably a lack of mobility, all too apparent.
Luis Suarez’s return to action could hardly be timelier, although there have to be doubts over his fitness.
Uruguay are without right-back Maxi Pereira following his dismissal at the weekend.
KEY MAN: LUIS SUAREZ
It is normally England who are panicking over the fitness of their star man in the build up to a major tournament, but this summer, it is Uruguay who have been anxiously awaiting fitness updates.
Luis Suarez was an unused substitute against Costa Rica, leading to speculation that he was not even close to being fit.
This should be disproved when he lines up for the national anthems tonight.
It remains to be seen whether he can rediscover the sharpness that enabled him to score 31 Premier League goals last season.
HEAD TO HEAD: STURRIDGE V GODIN
Forget Wayne Rooney, if England are to triumph tonight, it is Daniel Sturridge who is more likely fire them to victory.
The Liverpool striker’s clinical finish against Italy underlined the confidence he has carried over from a successful Premier League campaign and his pace and power should trouble a makeshift Uruguay defence.
In the absence of injured captain Diego Lugano, Uruguay will be relying on Atletico Madrid’s title-winning defender Diego Godin to keep Sturridge quiet.
The England man possesses the skills to trouble a Godin-led back four.
DID YOU KNOW?
England have not exited a World Cup tournament at the group stage since 1958.
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