With or Without Luis Suarez, Uruguay Hold No Fears for England

Karla Villegas GamaFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2014

FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 14: A dejected Edinson Cavani of Uruguay looks down during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at Castelao on June 14, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Uruguay left a lot of doubts after losing to Costa Rica 3-1 in their debut. Los Ticos pressed the defense constantly, making evident that it's the back line that needs adjustments.

Los Charruas couldn't do much to surprise Costa Rica. Their only goal came as the result of a penalty kick, but other than that, they barely appeared in the rival's box.

Edinson Cavani shot four times, all on-target, while he had 77 percent of passing effectiveness. Diego Forlan had a good chance, but Keylor Navas denied him the goal. Nicolas Lodeiro was a ghost too, as he failed to shoot at all.

Uruguay surpassed Costa Rica in ball possession with 56 percent, but despite their dominance in that area, they didn't create muchthey had four opportunities in 90 minutes.

Egidio Arevalo Rios, Walter Gargano and Cristian Rodriguez failed to deliver and to link with the forwards.

Uruguay's crossing.
Uruguay's crossing.Squawka.com

The defense was a mess. The first half was not much of a problem, but after the halftime, the speed and verticality of Los Ticos hurt Uruguay badly.

Costa Rica bet for a more powerful and dynamic football, and it paid off. Uruguay kept their traditional style of play, and it proved to be costly and old-fashioned.

The defeat is a particularly tough blow for the South Americans because group D has two all-time heavyweights: England and Italy.

Los Charruas will face Wayne Rooney and Co. on June 19, and even if Luis Suarez plays, the team is not efficient.

Uruguay had three key passes against Costa Rica and missed 126 passes. They might know how to keep the ball, but Uruguay have a lot of trouble putting it on the box.

Having said so, coach Oscar Tabarez needs to work hard in the next five days if he wants to stop England.

The Europeans have become a more fluid side, with long and accurate passes and runs through the flanks, that allow them to send lethal diagonals and crosses.

England can very well have a field trip if they take advantage of two things: the power of their youngsters and Uruguay's shaky defense.

Los Charruas need to do something about their slow pace in the back line. They have to put special attention in the lack of depth and organization in last third of the pitch.

Daniel Sturridge's speed, Wayne Rooney's fine touch and the solidity in the midfield will determine Uruguay's future in Brazil.

Although England tend to suffer with aerial duels, Suarez is not the sharpest player with his head. Last season with Liverpool, he scored 31 goals but only three of those with the head.

If Tabarez doesn't tweak his strategy, expect the South Americans to leave home earlier than expected.

All advanced stats appear courtesy of Squawka.com, unless otherwise noted.