The World Cup in Brazil may already be steadily growing a reputation for being one of the most enjoyable ever seen, but you need to forget what’s happened already - tonight is the big one.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll be aware that England face Uruguay in a literal clash of the titans which could decide whether or not they end up qualifying for the knockout stages. Roy Hodgson’s men head into the game off the back of that 2-1 loss to Italy last Saturday, but for once there’s a genuine optimism amongst Three Lions fans thanks to excellent performances from the likes of Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Danny Welbeck.
Naturally much of the focus will be on Wayne Rooney’s ability to defy his critics, with some claiming that the Manchester United star wasn’t up to his usual brilliant best in the group opener.
In the other fixtures tonight the Ivory Coast take on Colombia in the early kick-off, with both sides no doubt keen to build upon their respective victories in their first games. Then it’s over to the Estadio das Nunas for Greece vs Japan, with the losers facing elimination for the tournament. Neither side looked great in the opening round of fixtures, and will be vying to ensure they’re still in contention for the second-round come next week.
Of course today’s games come off the back of a brilliant day for the neutrals yesterday, with Australia putting up an incredible fight against Holland despite losing 3-2, and Spain being booted from the tournament after their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chile. Here’s to hoping that tonight’s action follows a similar suit - except of course for the England game, a calm and collected win will do us just fine there.
CAN ENGLAND DO IT?
Hodgson's squad showcased against Italy that they're more than capable of breaking down defences moving forward. The attacking quartet of Rooney, Sturridge, Welbeck and Sterling should give Uruguay's back four plenty of grief, but question marks remain over the Three Lions' ability to remain solid when the tide isn't in their favour.
Leighton Baines was horribly exposed by Italy's right-sided attacks, and the pairing of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka will have to be on top of their game if they are to live with Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez. Meanwhile Glen Johnson has never really impressed when tasked with defending, and it will be a far more comfortably experience for England fans if they can grab a goal early on.
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