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England line-up against Uruguay on Thursday knowing that a defeat is likely to end their World Cup venture after only a week in Brazil.
Roy Hodgson’s team go into the game as favourites, after they came out of the opening 2-1 defeat against Italy with great credit, following a solid performance that just lacked a clinical touch.
Forward Wayne Rooney came in for a hefty amount of criticism in the aftermath of the game due to a disappointing performance in his unfavoured left-midfield role.
Plenty are calling for Rooney to be returned to his central ‘number 10’ position, and the 28-year-old is 6/1 to open the scoring for the Three Lions, and 7/4 to break his World Cup duck during the 90 minutes.
Uruguay, on the other hand, sit bottom of the group and came out of their 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica with little or no credit.
They missed key-man Luis Suarez, who is reportedly fit to line-up against England, and Hodgson’s suggestion that Suarez hasn’t proved anything at the highest level yet will only drive the Liverpool striker’s desire even further.
He’s 5/1 to open the scoring and 5/2 to inflict misery on England by scoring in a Uruguay win.
Daniel Sturridge got off the mark against Italy in his first ever World Cup appearance and will be in a buoyant mood as he lines up against Liverpool strike-partner Suarez.
The pair finished first and second in the Premier League scoring charts, netting 52 goals between them (Suarez 31, Sturridge 21) last season, and they will both be confident of carrying their brilliant club form onto the international stage.
It is 11/2 for both Liverpool strikers net at any time during the 90 minutes, and that is sure to prove popular, not only on Merseyside, but across the nation.
England must go into the game with confidence, having seen Fernando Muslera’s poor shot-stopping record at Galatasaray. In the 2013/14 Champions League, only six goalkeepers who played six games or more had a worse record than the Uruguay goalkeeper’s disappointing 65.7% save percentage.
The Three Lions will need to improve their shooting accuracy though, after managing only five shots on target, from 18 efforts on goal against Italy. Ross Barkley enjoys a shot from range, and there are rumours circulating he may well be given the nod in the centre. The Everton midfielder is 4/1 to find the net during 90 minutes, and 6/1 to score in an England win.
Both of the sides’ opening fixtures yielded over 2.5 goals, and it is evens (1/1) for the same outcome in the Arena de Sao Paulo. Punters are latching on to the price, with such a plethora of striking talent on display, and with question marks over both sides’ defence, it would be no surprise to see it be backed in to a shade of odds-on before kick-off.
The sides have met ten times; with the 2-1 scoreline making an appearance five times (three for England, two for Uruguay), and England are currently proving popular at 8/1 to keep the trend going by beating Uruguay 2-1.