Football

How England can turn it around against Uruguay

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Well of course all football fans know that Uruguay is next for England. But what all Three Lions fans will be wondering is what is likely to happen - and what can England do to swing the pendulum in their favour?

I'm not going to make any predictions particularly as both of these teams are pretty unpredictable. Uruguay were fairly poor in qualification, only making it after finishing 5th in the South American qualifying group then winning a play-off win against Jordan. England can always manage to confound and disappoint and were unconvincing in their warm-up games.

So what can England do to improve their performance and, hopefully, get the win they need?

The first thing I would suggest is a different tactical plan to the Italy game. The idea of pressing high and chasing the ball just doesn't work in this climate. By the end of the Italy game the England players looked exhausted. Promising first half performances from the likes of Sterling and Sturridge turned into a substitution for the latter after a knock and the former reverting to the wing, spending a lot of his time in mazy dribbles and spurts that ended up with him losing the ball or putting in aimless or blocked crosses.

Hodgson is hampering himself by wanting to select certain players and being willing to play them, or others, out of position to accommodate this. Wayne Rooney always looks uncomfortable on the left flank and is Wellbeck really a flank player? Leighton Baines was uncertain virtually all night on England's left until Adam Lallana came on which seemed to steady him both in attack and defence. Perhaps that should be Roy's first personnel change.

Sterling was effective behind the main striker but less so when he was switched wide to accommodate Rooney. I think Hodgson is torn between loyalty to Rooney, excitement at Sterling's pace and uncertainty about Barkley's experience and decision-making. He would probably like to use all three of them (and Wellbeck and Sturridge as well!) but cannot come up with a formation that would work; so instead he is tinkering with formations that still don't work. He should decide what his best formation is for the game and then pick the right players to play in the positions on the day. If Rooney (or even Gerrard) are not the people for the job then he should not include them.

England are not Liverpool and this is not the Premier League on an October weekend. It is hot, humid and energy-sapping out there and Liverpool's game is based on pressing the ball and fast breaks. That tactic is probably not going to work here. If Hodgson is going to ask his players to do the amount of running they did in Manaus then he needs to be planning for tactical substitutions after about an hour with a considered idea of who is coming on and going off, and how they are going to be deployed when they are on the pitch.

It might be that England can bumble through like they did in 1986 despite Bobby Robson's tactical and selection errors that were only corrected by the injury to Bryan Robson and the sending-off of Ray Wilkins. But that is leaving an awful lot to chance.

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Topics:
World Cup
England Football
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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