England go into the game against Uruguay knowing a win is a must if they want to keep qualification for the knockout stages in their own hands.
A win would see England join Costa Rica and Italy on 3 points, for one day at least with those two sides facing each other in Recife on Friday. This would set England up for a deciding game with Costa Rica on June 24th, where a win in that game would see England safely through to the next round, unless Costa Rica beat Italy and Italy beat Uruguay. This would see all teams finish on 6 points with the two teams with the best goal difference qualifying for the next round.
However, if England were to lose to Uruguay then they would need a miracle to qualify from Group D. If Costa Rica and Italy were to draw in Recife on Friday then England would be out of the World Cup, with all three other teams still able to qualify.
The only way for England to qualify from Group D if they were to lose to Uruguay would be for Italy to win their two remaining group games against Costa Rica and Uruguay and England to beat Costa Rica by enough goals for them to qualify in second place on goal difference.
A draw would see England still in with a chance to qualify from Group D, but they would have to beat Costa Rica in their final group game to stand any chance and hope other results go their way.
England gave a good account of themselves against Italy in the opening game, with Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge impressing going forward and Danny Welbeck not giving the Italian defence a moments rest, with all three players expected to keep their places in the team. Daniel Sturridge has been in hot form for Liverpool this season and has continued this form by scoring in the warm up and on his first World Cup appearance. Our friends at William Hill are offering excellent odds of 4/1 for Daniel Sturridge to score at anytime against Uruguay (new customers).
Wayne Rooney was again criticised by the media for his performance against the Italians and it will be interesting to see whether Roy Hodgson plays the Manchester United forward in behind Daniel Sturridge or again plays him wide on the left.
Uruguay, who were many peoples dark horses for the competition struggled against Costa Rica’s pace and this is something England can exploit with Sterling, Welbeck and Sturridge, especially with Uruguay’s ageing back line.
However, England will need to tighten up in midfield with Candreva finding all sorts of space in between Gerrard, Henderson and England’s centre backs in the opening game, with Cahill not stepping forward and covering the gaps. This would be a major problem with the likes of Cavani and Suarez in the Uruguay side and is something hopefully Roy Hodgson has worked on in training during the week.
Hodgson will also be hoping that Daniel Sturridge continues his fine goalscoring form that saw him score 21 goals in 29 Premier league appearances last season. The England and Liverpool forward scored a goal every 108 minutes last season, hitting the target with 49% of his shots and converting an impressive 25% of his chances.
He will be looking to outscore his Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez (31 goals), who he formed a phenomenal partnership with last season with the pair scoring 52 goals between them last season.
I feel England’s pace will be too much for the Uruguay back line and England will go on to win the game 2-1 with Daniel Sturridge continuing his impressive goalscoring form.
You can also back an England win at 6/5, while the draw is at 11/5 and a Uruguay win is 12/5.