What seemed like a potentially interesting matchup between England and Italy, with England attacking and the two sides pressuring, ended up being one of the most boring second halves of the early going. England began the match firing away from outside the box and making it interesting for the “Three Lions.” However, in the second half England’s atrocious fitness started to show and nearly every cross went behind the net.
While the conditions were ideal, with the temperature in the mid 80s and humidity at 74 percent, England conveyed such lack of fitness it was embarrassing to watch them try to make something out of nothing. England lost the game 2-1 and are now in a must-win situation heading into their matchup against Uruguay next Thursday. What an interesting game that might pan out to be, if the Englishmen are fit enough to play.
Uruguay were upset 3-1 earlier in the day by Costa Rica and too face a must-win situation against England if they want any shot at making it out of group play. Comparing the two teams, both have their strengths and both have weaknesses that can be easily exploited. Uruguay, as many of you might’ve witnessed, have a terrible back line. Their defense is nowhere near good and they make silly mistakes that cost them easy games, like the one against Costa Rica.
England has a bright star in Raheem Sterling. In my opinion he was the man of the match for England as he gave the Three Lions a dangerous option on the outside. He was perhaps the only reliable target to pass to in the closing minutes as Italy parked the bus and put 10 men behind the ball. Sterling has to remain in the starting lineup against Uruguay if England wants to thrash their abysmal defense.
England left out Jack Wilshere in a shocking roster change and had Henderson start in his place. That panned out to be a great move. When Wilshere came in as a sub he was atrocious. He messed up a simple pass to the defense and had a poor first touch. The lineup England started out with today was perhaps their best option and shouldn’t be tweaked for Thursday.
England needs to go into the Uruguay game attacking full on because if Luis Suarez starts, that spells trouble for the English defense. Look for this matchup to be full of goals if Suarez plays. Without Suarez, Uruguay looked average at best going towards their opposition’s goal.
It’s not over for England, not just yet.