Uruguay needs to get a result against England if it wants to progress beyond the group stage at the 2014 World Cup.
La Celeste lost 3-1 to Costa Rica on Saturday and Los Ticos were able to expose the weaknesses of Oscar Tabarez’s side.
Tabarez has called-up too many veterans from his country’s 2010 World Cup campaign and the team has not got many youngsters available.
Diego Forlan was Uruguay’s star four years ago but he is now in the twilight of career and Tabarez cannot rely on him to score goals or even create them. Aside from a few free-kicks and a deflected shot on goal, Forlan did little against Costa Rica.
Fernando Muslera was quiet in the first half but in the second half he could not handle the Costa Rica shots.
Joel Campbell starred for Los Ticos in attack and his pace gave the Celeste problems. The Uruguayans will probably struggle to deal with the pace of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge when they play against the English.
Costa Rica exposed Uruguay’s weakness at defending from set-pieces. Christian Bolaños took free-kicks from the wings and one of them resulted in a goal scored by Oscar Duarte.
Tabarez is a pragmatist and sometimes that can backfire. A coach will create roles for players and they don’t work. Martin Caceres is a right full-back but he played on the left. Now that Maxi Pereira is out for the England game because of suspension, Caceres should play in his natural position.
Christian Stuani played as a right-winger but it is not his position. He might have done well against Jordan in the World Cup play-offs in that role but his best role is as an out-and-out striker. If he has to play, he is better off coming off the bench.
I have suggested that Uruguay should use the 4-4-2 formation against England. This formation will be similar to what Tabarez used four years.
The formation was a 4-4-2 cum 3-4-3 in 2010 but this time Tabarez should use a 4-4-2 formation that becomes a 3-4-1-2.
When Uruguay moves to a 3-4-1-2, Alvaro Gonzalez and Walter Gargano would protect the defence but Caceres and Alvaro Pereira would run down the wings and Gaston Ramirez would play behind the strikers.
Ramirez is a false right-winger in my formation. His role would involve him starting from the wing but he would be given freedom to roam in the middle of the attack. Caceres would patrol that right flank and move into midfield when Ramirez attacks.
This is the main difference with the formation in 2010. Forlan started in attack but he could drop back and play as an attacking midfielder.
I would start Jorge Fucile at left-back but he would move into the centre of defence when Uruguay has the ball. Off the ball, he should limit the space to Sterling to do any damage.
One of the other main differences is that Edinson Cavani was used as a right midfielder in South Africa and he would join the attack whenever possible. Here he should just stay in the forward line and finish whatever chances he gets to score.
Luis Suarez will be the key for Uruguay because if he is fit enough, he can win the game on his own yet he needs to be given the right platform to perform.
England’s young team should be able to beat Uruguay’s veterans. If Tabarez sets the team up like this and Suarez is fit, there could be some hope for the Celeste.