Glenn Hoddle: My Uruguay v England predictions
Here are my predictions for the Uruguay v England blockbuster.
- England to win 2-1 (a tempting 8/1 with William Hill)
- Roy Hodgson to name an unchanged side.
- Luis Suarez to start.
- England could lose and still qualify
Well, much depends on how much Uruguay improve and how much England can reach the level they showed against Italy.
The danger is Uruguay will be much better than the limp way they lost to Costa Rica 3-1 and I really cannot see them being as bad again.
It’s sod’s law that after playing so well against Italy, it might be tough for us to raise our game to that level again.
But that is what will be required by England to succeed.
That means it will be a very, very close game, and I am going for England to win 2-1.
Our best bet is to hit Uruguay on the counter, that’s where we looked most dangerous against Italy. It’s when we are chasing the game we have a problem.
England are much better on the counter.
Roy is going to stick with the same 11, I’m sure, and whether he switches Wayne Rooney inside and pushes Raheem Sterling on to the wing is debatable.
The England boss is sure to be happy with the way his team played and although he will need some big improvements in certain areas, he is sure to be tempted to say ‘same again’.
Apart from maybe switching Rooney and Sterling I don’t believe Roy will change the starting 11.
However, I personally would make one change, one that would completely change the shape of the team and would have a huge effect on the way England play.
It would, in my opinion, make all the difference.
I would have Stephen Gerrard sitting in front of the back four, and ahead of him Rooney and Adam Lallana – replacing Jordan Henderson - with Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling in the side positions.
It would be a “V’ formation, Gerrard at the point of the V with Rooney and Lallana at the two prongs.
It would allow for Rooney to burst forward, with Lallana sitting alongside Gerrard, or Lallana breaking forward and Rooney dropping back into midfield.
One goes in, one stays.
Sterling was great in that No 10 role, it has to be said, but it also proved to be England’s Achilles Heel as it left Leighton Baines badly exposed against Italy.
In effect. with Sterling and Welbeck defending when England are not in possession, there would be four across midfield with Gerrard behind, giving more protection by not being outnumbered in midfield.
In attack there would be greater flexibility and potency with Rooney and Lallana alternating in going forward.
As well as getting Rooney into a central position when he needs to, Sterling on the left flank will afford more cover to Baines.
Baines needs someone in front of him to give him protection and Sterling has the young legs to run up and down the flank to fill in that hole that was left against Italy which they exposed brilliantly.
Also, with the Uruguay right back being sent off Sterling would have greater opportunities down that flank.
England also need to work on their blind side runs as they need to get in behind defences. They failed to do that, I noticed, against Honduras and Ecuador, and Glen Johnson managed only one overlap but got in a very dangerous cross.
There needs to be far more.
Germany did it four or five times against Portugal and a goal came from it - simple blind side runs can be so effective, and we will need that to open up Uruguay.
But over all I feel the team came away from a defeat, unusually, with a lot of confidence taken from their performance and that can carry the team through to a win.
Suarez to start
If Suarez is 100 per cent fit as it is being suggested, why didn’t Uruguay throw him on when they were 2-1 down against Costa Rica?
After going behind 3-1 there was little point, but it seemed strange not to risk him when losing.
Maybe they thought they would pull the game around without having to risk Suarez, saving him for England.
My feeling is that he cannot possibly be 100 per cent fit, he is lacking match sharpness for a start.
But Uruguay will be tempted to risk him from the start because it’s an all or nothing game.
England can lose and still qualify:
Of course, no one will want to be biting their nails down to the bone, but even if England lost, and Italy beat Uruguay and Italy beat Costa Rica it is possible England could get through by losing to Uruguay and beating Costa Rica by at least two goals.
That’s a lot of ifs and buts and a totally undesirable scenario.
England need to win against Uruguay to keep it within their own hands. So too do Uruguay so they will be going into this game believing that the winner will go through and the loser is sure to go out.
It’s virtually a knock out game.
*Glenn Hoddle is part of the star-studded ITV team for the World Cup, while he is also a leading pundit with Sky.