Tonight is the night where England’s destiny will be sealed. Fans will be on the edges of their seats as they take on a hurting Uruguayan side that will be desperate to bounce back. Both sides will be desperate for a win but who will come out on top? Here we take a look at the key battles that will take place on the field tonight and suggest where the game will be won or lost.
Gary Cahill vs Luis Suarez
Suarez’s return will be a huge boost for the Uruguayans. Against Costa Rica they looked extremely one dimensional and lacking any spark and creativity that, in my opinion, Edison Cavani rarely fails to provide. Suarez, in comparison, has it all. He will pester defenders all night long and cause England endless headaches. On his day he is absolutely unstoppable and even when he isn’t on top form, you can guarantee that the defenders will have had a tough evening. Cahill is quickly becoming England’s most important defensive player having had a fine season with Chelsea but he will need to be at the top of his game tonight to keep Suarez at bay and to organize an unconvincing English back line.
Raheem Sterling vs Egidio Arevalo
Sterling and Rooney will most likely have fluid roles behind Sturridge and Sterling will most likely be marshaled by Egidio Arevalo. Arevalo is a ferocious, hard working and experienced centre-midfielder with wild-dog-like tenacity and will be snapping at Sterling’s heels all night long. Sterling can, however, take real heart from his performance against Italy and believe that he can mix it with the best on the international stage. If he performs as we know he can, he will give Arevalo a really hard nights work.
Daniel Sturridge vs Jose Maria Giminez
This is where England will feel the match can be won. Diego Godin is a quality centre back but is not the quickest defender. At Atletico Madrid he plays alongside the pacey Miranda who can easily cover Godin’s lack of pace. However, there is no Miranda for Argentina. Godin normally plays alongside the snail-paced Uruguayan captain Diego Lugano who endured a torrid season for West Bromwich Albion. However, Lugano has been ruled out with injury so in comes 19 year old centre back Giminez. Giminez is an inexperienced centre back but will offer more pace than Lugano so that could work in Uruguay’s favour If Sturridge can play on the shoulder of Godin and the likes of Rooney and Sterling can provide the quality of pace required to thread it through the defence then England will get plenty of joy as the night goes on and Sturridge will find himself on the score-sheet again.
Overall, England should go in to this game believing that they can and, in my opinion, should win against a fairly average and aging Uruguayan side. If our attackers play to the best of their abilities, they will break down their defense and I will be stunned if England does not manage to score at least one goal. However, the three lions must cut all the supply to Suarez to get success and when he does get the ball he must be stopped as soon as possible, by a foul if necessary. Suarez’s inclusion does make this a much tougher match but there is no reason that England can’t get the all important victory tonight and begin their push for qualification to the last 16.