After some opening round losses for both England and Uruguay last week, Thursday’s match-up all of a sudden becomes quite imperative for both teams involved. Both squads had high hopes entering Brazil 2014, although their most recent defeats have definitely lowered expectations. That said, this game remains a massive one for both squads filled with intriguing storylines.
After England’s match-up against Italy, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Sure their defeat makes advancement an uphill battle, but a victory against Uruguay would have them sitting well heading into their match. England had a lot of positives from their first game, and expect their speed, youth, and skill to give problems to Uruguay. A better effort is anticipated, and look for an inspired Three Lions squad to take the field on Thursday.
The Uruguayans had a wildly disappointing beginning to Brazil 2014. Their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Costa Rica can only be considered embarrassing. Uruguay looked old and slow on defense, and lacked precision on offense. The main reason for the latter can likely be attributed to the absence of key striker, Luis Suarez. The Liverpool forward has been nursing an injured knee, but the Uruguayan has been declared fully fit for a crucial clash against England. Suarez was one of the top strikers in the world this past season, and his inclusion in the squad only adds to the intrigue surrounding this pivotal match. Read on below for further thoughts and an official game prediction.
England vs. Uruguay Betting Odds:
England (+115) / Draw (+250) / Uruguay (+235)
Over 2.5 (+105) / Under 2.5 (-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
England vs. Uruguay Prediction:
While this tournament didn’t commence the way both squads would have hoped, England still sits in a far more favourable position than their opponents from Uruguay. A tight defeat against Italy is nothing to hang your head over, and expect head coach Roy Hodgson to be drilling that into his players before this contest. Uruguay has some serious catching up to, but it remains to be seen if they have the quality within their squad to take down a speedy and skilled England squad.
The flair and creativity of the English was on full display against the Italians. The likes of Sturridge, Sterling, and Welbeck were all excellent when running at defenders, and when you consider that Uruguay has a far less impressive backline, there should be lots of room and space for English plays to develop.
The unfortunate part for England is it’s quite likely that Uruguay cannot possibly be that bad again. They’ve admitted to some complacency against the Costa Ricans, and vowed to be ready for the English. And even though La Celeste have vowed to be better, and will have Suarez in the fold, Team England still remains the better overall group. The loss against Italy was a poor result, and they likely deserved a better fate. As Wayne Rooney said earlier in the week, it’s now ‘do or die,’ and the English aren’t ready to go home early.
Expect this match to be high-tempo and generate a ton of scoring chances for both sides. These countries are familiar with one another from playing alongside each other in the English Premier League, and the rivalries will be intriguing to observe. Ultimately, expect England to continue some of their strong play from the Italy match. Two defensive breakdowns cost them points against the Azzurri, and with the pressure on, this group won’t make the same mistake twice. Expect England to break quickly, wreaking havoc on a plodding Uruguay back-line that looked comical against Costa Rica.
While many are calling for Wayne Rooney to be dropped from the England squad, look for a minor tweak in where he plays on the pitch. Moving Rooney into a more central role will allow him to be more involved in the play, feeding the likes of Sterling and Sturridge for prime scoring chances. Uruguayan right-back Maxi Pereira is expected to miss out due to suspension, while Lugano and Godin in the centre of expense won’t have the speed to match-up.
Look for both offenses to vastly outplay the defense of the opposition. England looked dangerous against Italy at times, and expect that approach to be applied more consistently. While Uruguay will respond with a better effort, you have to question their defensive organisation and the fitness of Luis Suarez. Ultimately, the defense of England will rise against the challenge that Suarez and Cavani provide, allowing their speed and creativity to win out at the other end of the pitch. England’s play along the wings, and crosses swung in from the flanks will overwhelm the Uruguayan fullbacks. It won’t be easy, but a high-scoring England victory is where the values lies prior to this thrilling affair.
PICK = ENGLAND (+115)
Bonus Pick = Both Teams To Score (-130)