England go into this must-win game on the back of their most assured passing performance ever in a World Cup which unfortunately failed to deliver the points. Changing a team playing the way the public want and with the public’s choice of team would be a difficult decision to make. The match against Italy was one of those games that could have gone either way with England the more dangerous going forward but also the most susceptible in defence. England fashioned far more chances than Italy who’s defence was breeched at will particularly via the outlet of Raheem Sterling who had the best night of any England player.
Uruguay will have been shocked by their defeat to Costa Rica and will be concerned by the attacking credentials and passing ability of this England team. No doubt they will also be looking at the difficulties England had defending set-piece attacks and their susceptibility to attacks on the wings. England by contrast will look at the general lack of pace and variety in the Uruguay play, especially in the absence of Luis Suarez. Both teams have areas they need to improve upon and both have a chance albeit a more difficult one to Italy and Costa Rica. With Costa Rica having 3 points it could even come down to goal difference who qualifies from the ‘Group of Death’.
With England the questions being asked concern the inclusion of Glen Johnson and Wayne Rooney in the starting line-up. That Glen Johnson should have been covering the far post from which Italy got the winning goal I am sure will be pointed out in the post-match analysis as will the narrow miss by Rooney. The facts remain however that Rooney did have issues on the wing and if he is moved more centrally as is demanded then he needs to score or he could lose his starting place. With Glen Johnson we seem to lack alternatives that would be an improvement with Phil Jones unimpressive in the recent friendly and James Milner simply a mistake.
Uruguay are a team without a ‘Plan B’ and without Suarez they lack much cohesion, and were rightly branded ‘woeful’ in defeat to Costa Rica. What Uruguay do have is the Suarez factor in their ‘Plan A’ to come and will likely sew the seeds of uncertainty before the game and keep England guessing. England should concern themselves with their own attack and not be distracted by news stories regarding his inclusion or his fitness.
England should go out and express themselves again, they need to attack, score goals and win the game and that will only happen playing the way they did against Italy. So no particular inquest is required or changes need to be made beyond the purely tactical. Pick yourselves up and attack!