As Sir Alex Ferguson once said: 'It's squeaky bum time' for England as they fight for group stage survival against a strong Uruguay side who are also looking for that all elusive win to progress into the last 16.
Roy Hodgson will be looking for big performances from key players in Sao Paulo this evening in make or break game for England's World Cup hopes.
Venue: Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo
Kick-off: 8pm, BST (3pm, Brazil time)
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)
England Team News:
Wayne Rooney is expected to start again despite concerns regarding his performance against Italy.
Having moved Rooney to the left for the Italy game on Saturday, it now looks like the Manchester United man will return to a more familiar position down the centre with Raheem Sterling moved out to the wing.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still training separately from the main squad and is likely to miss out on the Uruguay game.
Predicted England Starting XI - (4-2-3-1): Hart (GK); Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines; Gerrard, Henderson; Rooney, Welbeck, Sterling; Sturridge
Uruguay Team News:
The return of Luis Suarez will give Uruguay a huge confidence lift ahead of their World Cup clash with England, even if he isn't 100% fit.
The Liverpool forward has declared himself “100% fit” to start Uruguay’s critical World Cup group game against England
Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has been ruled against England tomorrow with a knee injury
Liverpool’s Sebastian Coates is likely to fill in for Lugano – where he could face team-mates Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling.
Predicted Uruguay Starting XI - (4-4-2): Muslera (GK); Fucile, Coates, Godin, Caceres; Stuani, Arevalo, Gargano, Rodriguez; Suarez, Cavani
- England have never beaten Uruguay at the World Cup. They’ve met twice: in 1954 (Uruguay won 4-2 in the quarter-finals) and 1966 (0-0).
- Their last encounter dates back to 1 March 2006 in a friendly at Anfield. England won 2-1 thanks to goals from Peter Crouch and Joe Cole.
- Uruguay played twice in São Paulo the last time the World Cup was held in Brazil (1950), drawing 2-2 against Spain and winning 3-2 against Sweden.
- England recorded their highest ever World Cup pass completion rate (91%) in the opening match vs Italy (1966-2014).
- Daniel Sturridge has scored three goals in his last four appearances for England. Wayne Rooney is yet to score a World Cup goal.
- Uruguay continued their run of not winning an opening group game since 1970 and they have won only once in their second game in their last six World Cup appearances.
- Uruguay have picked a red card in two of their last four games at the World Cup.
England have never conceded 2+ goals in three successive World Cup games before.
Luis Suarez vs Gary Cahill
The Chelsea defender will have his work cut out when he faces the dogged attacking style of Suarez. He will look to run in behind the defence and find pockets of space, like he has done so successfully this season in the Premier League. Cahill will need to have the game of his life despite the fact that the Uruguay forward lacks full match fitness. The England centre-back will hope that will make his task a little easier against the Premier League’s top scorer.
This crunch game will no doubt be a close affair. Hodgson must prepare like it was a Champions League final and captain Steven Gerrard must fire the players up for the game of their lives. Uruguay have something to prove after defeat to minnows Costa Rica last week and will be looking to make amends. However, I believe England will come out narrow victors in Sao Paulo.