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England vs. Uruguay: ‘life-or-death’ clash

By Agencies - Jun 18,2014 - Last updated at Jun 18,2014

RIO DE JANEIRO — England’s players felt a bit uneasy about being praised back home despite losing their World Cup opener. From now on, they know it’s the results they’ll be judged by, not the entertaining value of their games.

“I don’t want to go home early performing well but not getting results,” Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge said Monday. “It’s the results that count, it’s not about the performances and we realise that as a team as well.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean the team is ready to abandon the attack-minded philosophy employed by coach Roy Hodgson in the 2-1 loss against Italy in Manaus. Avoiding defeat against Uruguay on Thursday in Sao Paulo should keep England’s Group D hopes alive, but a victory will put the team in a more advantageous position going into the final match against Costa Rica.

“I don’t feel we need to change much,” Sturridge said. “I just feel as though maybe we need to get those little bits of luck, a little bit of a break.”

Sturridge started up front against Italy in the central position where Wayne Rooney can thrive. With Rooney on the left flank in the first half, and the right after the break, his bearing on the game was limited apart from setting up Sturridge’s goal. The failure to hit the target extended Rooney’s scoreless run at World Cups to three tournaments, and he looked stone-faced while talking on the training pitch with Hodgson on Monday.

“It could be quite frustrating at times for anyone playing out of position but that’s football and you’ve just got to deal with it,” Sturridge told a briefing at the team’s training camp at the Urca military base in Rio de Janeiro.
“I know Wayne is experienced, he can handle pretty much every situation as he has been through a lot in his career. You say he’s playing out of position but he’s played there plenty of times for Manchester United. He is accustomed to that position.”

Wherever he plays, Rooney will have a “massive impact” against Uruguay, England and Manchester United teammate Danny Welbeck predicted, despite recent performances in the England shirt suggesting otherwise.

“All the forward players at England, they’ve all got the flexibility to move in and around and interchange positions,” Sturridge said. “Obviously Wayne was on the left in the first game and in the second or third game he could be in a different position.


Uruguay gun for ‘unlucky’ England


Still smarting from a shock opening defeat, Uruguay’s coach and captain said on Monday they were working on how to annul England’s speedy strikers in a “life-or-death” Group D clash.

Although last World Cup semi-finalists Uruguay ended surprisingly well beaten 3-1 by Costa Rica, many considered England hard done by in a 2-1 defeat by Italy after one of their best attacking performances under coach Roy Hodgson.

“England deserved better luck,” Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez told reporters after a training session at the team’s hotel in rolling countryside outside Sete Lagaos town.

“The English attackers showed their great technical potential. They’re fast in decision making and running. We have to limit them, because they are going to repeat that offensive style against us,” he added.

Also known for their attacking prowess, Uruguay’s Tabarez declined to confirm if striker Luis Suarez would start against England. The Liverpool forward has recovered from knee cartilage surgery but is short of match fitness and practice.

“It’s a possibility he will play, I can’t say more,” said Tabarez, known as “El Maestro” or “The Teacher” at home.

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