Two former champions collide on Matchday 2 for Group D combatants, Uruguay and England.  Uruguay was humiliated in their previous match 3-1 to Costa Rica, while England was on the wrong side of a 2-1 thriller against rival Italy. The two countries have only ever met twice before in World Cup play, the last time finishing in a 0-0 draw nearly 50 years ago.

World Cup 2010 semifinalist Uruguay find themselves in an unfamiliar situation needing a win or they will be eliminated from the tournament. The hopes of La Celeste lies in the hands (or knees rather) of 27 year old Liverpool talisman, Luis Suarez who missed the match vs. Costa Rica and declared himself fully fit to play against England.

“In the case of whether Luis plays, there is a possibility that he won’t be like the Luis Suarez that was the top goal scorer of the Premier League,” Uruguay’s coach Oscar Tabarez told the media.

Tabarez will need the closest thing to the EPL Luis Suarez as he can get as he is also without his captain Diego Lugano and best defender Maxi Pereira who received a red card in the last match and is out with a suspension.

England has a lot less concerns than Uruguay even though this is a must-win game for them as well. Despite their 2-1 loss in their opening match against Italy, the Three Lions have a lot to build off of as Manchester United forward, Wayne Rooney finally contributed to a goal in the World Cup with his assist to Daniel Sturridge.

Newcomer, Raheem Sterling showed flashes of brilliance in the match and coach Roy Hodgson’s club not only comes into the clash with Uruguay healthy from the jungle, but will have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back if necessary.

England should be very familiar with Suarez as eleven of their players played in the English Premier league against him this past season.

Expect Uruguay to get the ball to Suarez early and often, flanking him with Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan. Their defense will really struggle however without Pereira and English captain, Steven Gerrard should have no problem controlling the middle and delivering accurate passes to Rooney and Sturridge.

The heat and the humidity in the jungle is behind them and England will now be able to play entirely with the fast paced approach they have been implementing all throughout qualifying.

Expect one of Uruguay’s “big three” to score, but for the pace of England to be too much for La Celeste to overcome. I anticipate plenty of action in this game as both teams will be playing with desperation and intensity. To observers, this will look and feel like a World Cup final match up.   

My Prediction: A back and forth match that I hope sees England’s Wayne Rooney silence the critics and score his first ever World Cup goal. 2-1 England.

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada.lv:

Uruguay:  Pick Em’  (+170)    //   +265 Moneyline            
England:   Pick Em’ (-210)   //      -105 Moneyline            
Draw +280