England’s encounter with Uruguay is shaping up to be a do-or-die clash for both sides’ World Cup chances following defeats in their opening games, with a number of Liverpool FC playering to the fore.
Here, we take a look at the key battles which could determine Thursday’s vital clash in Sao Paulo.
DIEGO GODIN v DANIEL STURRIDGE
With a knee injury ruling out captain Diego Lugano on the eve of the game, even more pressure has fallen on the shoulders of Godin. The centre-half played a key role in Atletico Madrid’s remarkable season and will need to be at his best to shackle in-form Sturridge. Godin is combative, good in the air and excellent positionally, but the Liverpool striker will certainly prove a handful for the 28-year-old.
LUIS SUAREZ v GARY CAHILL
This could be a tale of Liverpool’s two strikers if Suarez is able to overcome the knee injury that prevented him from featuring in the embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica. England’s defence will need no introduction to Uruguay’s all-time top scorer thanks to his Premier League exploits, with Cahill likely to be charged with keeping him at bay. Quick, unpredictable and skilful, Suarez will be key to Oscar Tabarez’s side.
CRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ v GLEN JOHNSON
The likes of Edinson Cavani, Diego Forlan and Abel Hernandez all have the ability to hurt, but overlook Rodriguez at your peril. The stocky winger is full of cunning, dangerous in possession and able to open up sides. Restricted to a back-up role at Atletico Madrid last season, this is Rodriguez’s chance to impress against Johnson. The Liverpool right-back looked decent against Italy and will need another impressive performance if he is to shackle the winger, who likes to shoot from distance.