England and Uruguay are considered to be among the strongest teams in the World Cup, but both lost their respective opening games. As the two squads face off on the pitch on Thursday, the embarrassing prospect of an early exit looms over them.
The pressure has especially built on England’s Wayne Rooney after a mixed display in last week's 2-1 loss to Italy, and Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, whose absence was much remarked after his team’s 3-1 shock defeat to Costa Rica.
Rooney, who has tallied 93 caps and 39 goals for England, has yet to score at a World Cup and he cut a frustrated figure by the end of the side’s debut match in the jungle city of Manaus on Saturday.
He hit out at media reports this week that said he was facing the axe because he was spotted training with England's reserves.
But England boss Roy Hodgson, in an assessment that indicated Rooney will keep his place as a starter, said the Manchester United striker accepted high expectations were part of being a senior player.
Waiting for Suarez
There has also been much speculation about Suarez. Uruguay fans are counting on the star to rescue their beleaguered team, but he could still be hampered by an injured leg.
Suarez scored 31 goals in 33 games for Liverpool last season but underwent knee surgery last month and missed Uruguay's ultimately disappointing opening in Fortaleza.
He said earlier this week that he was 100 percent fit, but many wonder if it will be enough to keep the small South American country in the tournament.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)
Date created : 2014-06-19