England vs Uruguay World Cup 2014: Five reasons Roy Hodgson's men WILL beat Luis Suarez and Co in Sao Paulo
Rooney, Sturridge and Sterling can fire Three Lions to victory
Thursday 19 June 2014
Roy Hodgson's England face a must-win game in the Arena Corinthians tonight, there's no other way of looking at it.
Win and continue in the competition or lose and hope Italy do the Three Lions a favour when they play tonight's opponents next week.
England's recent record when faced with this kind of knockout proposition isn't great... in fact, it's dismal.
At least we know it won't go to penalties tonight.
But after an encouraging performance against Italy on Saturday, England should head into this one in full confidence. Uruguay might be a dangerous team, but here are five reasons why England can win tonight.
England's talisman has made the headlines for the wrong reasons in the aftermath of the Italy game. Shunted out to the left he offered Leighton Baines no protection defensively and had only one real moment in the attacking third - a brilliant cross to set up Daniel Sturridge's equaliser.
Hodgson is likely to play Rooney in his preferred central tonight. That will be important in getting a performance out of the Manchester United star, but even more important will be the attitude of the man himself. Throughout his career Rooney has been at his best when he has to prove people wrong. His record at World Cups is pretty dreadful, now is the time to change that. Wayne Rooney will need to be back to his best against Uruguay
England's Young Lions
A lot was made of Roy Hodgson's decision to take new blood to Brazil ahead of the old guard, against Italy it worked well in patches. Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge proved they belonged on the world stage with exciting performances, while Ross Barkley is a real threat coming off the bench when the game is stretched.
Against Uruguay, a much less savvy and defensively solid team, those players should find more space to do damage. Raheem Sterling was fantastic against a strong Italy team
Roy Hodgson is a very clever and switched on man - he will have seen what worked and what didn't against Italy. Leighton Baines and Glen Johnson were clearly exposed, so Hodgson will give them extra defensive cover.
Steven Gerrard was outperformed by Andrea Pirlo in Manaus and while there's no shame in that he must perform better. Whether or not it was by design, Gerrard was too content with playing the simple pass - he has thrived in the 'quarterback' position at Liverpool this season and Hodgson should give his skipper more freedom to play those incisive balls forward.
Read more: Five reasons England WILL NOT beat Uruguay
LIVE: Follow all the action from Uruguay vs England
Whisper it, but England's opponents aren't actually that good. They finished fifth in South American qualifying, behind Ecuador, beating Jordan in a play-off to make it to the tournament.
Defensively they are poor. The skipper Diego Lugano has been ruled out of the game - he barely got a game for West Brom's before being released - and his replacement Liverpool's Sebastian Coates didn't play a single minute for Brendan Rodgers last season, while Jose Maria Gimenez played just 90 minutes for Atletico Madrid.
Right back Maxi Pereira was stupidly sent off in the defeat with Costa Rica and will also miss the game. A defence that was torn to shreds by Costa Rica will be missing it's two most experienced players. Luis Suarez will still be a threat but won't be fully fit for the game
The best player in the Premier League might be back and England will, of course, have to be wary of the threat he poses. Suarez will be giving his all to keep Uruguay in the competition.
He was the top scorer in South American qualification with 11 goals, Edinson Cavani had six, but he won't be at his best.
Although a half-fit Suarez is still a frightening prospect, don't expect him to resemble the man who scored 31 goals last season.
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