Uruguay vs. England: Suarez Proves Everything Tabarez Missed vs. Costa Rica

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 19, 2014

Getty Images

Uruguay moved back into contention for the knockout stages by beating England 2-1 in Sao Paulo on Thursday night, with Luis Suarez scoring both goals.

The Liverpool man gave la Celeste the lead in the first half with a stunning header, then re-took it with a poacher's effort following Wayne Rooney's tap-in equaliser.


Formations & XIs


Uruguay moved away from the flat 4-4-2 model used against Costa Rica for the encounter, switching to a slightly different 4-3-1-2 setup. Suarez partnered Edinson Cavani in attack, Egidio Arevalo Rios anchored the formation and Nicolas Lodeiro played as a deep No. 10.

England went unchanged personnel-wise in their 4-2-3-1, but shifted Rooney into the No. 10 role and Raheem Sterling wide right.


Rios on Rooney

England struggled to build play through the middle, and through Rooney, due to the presence of Arevalo Rios in holding midfield for Uruguay.


Every time Gerrard and Co. enjoyed time on the ball in deeper areas they'd look to Rooney as first option, but Oscar Tabarez's defensive stalwart stayed touch-tight and discouraged England from passing to his feet.

Some stellar movement, darting runs or evasive tactics could have seen the Manchester United man wriggle free, but he was altogether lazy in the role and did little to change the pattern of play.

The result was forcing the play down the right side using Sterling and Glen Johnson, and while that created a few strong openings, it became too easy for Uruguay to funnel the action and close it off.


Everything they missed against Costa Rica

Uruguay, on the other hand, found everything they were missing against Costa Rica in their opener in the form of Luis Suarez, restored to the XI after keyhole surgery on his knee 28 days previous.

The striker's darting run into the box, followed by Cavani's spectacular chipped assist, took five England players out of the game with one pass—that game-breaking ability was wholly absent in the first fixture.

Against the Ticos they were flat; borderline-motionless at times. Diego Forlan, Christian Stuani and Cavani did nothing for each off the ball, and they slipped into a clueless offensive rhythm.

Against England that wasn't a problem, and after taking the lead they got deeper and deeper. Cavani dropped into a hardworking No. 10 role and Suarez played on the shoulder of the last man. He reaped his rewards after an aerial mistake from Gerrard and killed the game.



England's approach got considerably better in the second half, and the catalyst for that was Baines' encroachment up the left touchline into more advanced, dangerous positions.

He'd been struggling to get forward in the first half, but to counteract Rios' marking of Rooney, Roy Hodgson pushed the Everton left-back 20 yards up the pitch and dropped Jordan Henderson in to cover the space.

Hodgson got Baines more into the game in the second half.
Hodgson got Baines more into the game in the second half.Huffington Post UK

With Uruguay playing no natural wingers, Alvaro Gonzalez was forced wider than usual to engage him ahead of right-back Martin Caceres. Daniel Sturridge then began drifting over, and England started winning ground on the left side, moving them up the pitch.

Baines put in several decent crosses before the opener—actually from the right side due to the fact that la Celeste had shifted many resources to the opposite flank—went in.



England are virtually out of the tournament after losing their first two games. 

The performance against Italy was good, but it also felt like they'd thrown everything they had at them and still lost. Uruguay, clearly, still had several gears to move through and did so on the back of Suarez's brilliance.