Former Liverpool defender expects England to beat Uruguay in crucial showdown

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Mark Lawrenson has confidence in England to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has said he expects England to beat Uruguay with pace and creativity in their crucial Group D clash in Sao Paulo on Thursday evening.

There has been a lot of positive talk following England's display against Italy on Saturday evening, despite going down 2-1 in Menaus.

Uruguay were stunned as Costa Rica came from behind to beat them 3-1 meaning that Thursday's game is a clash that neither side can afford to slip up in. 

The former Republic of Ireland defender says that a lot depends on the fitness of Luis Suarez for the South Americans - who didn't feature in the defeat to Costa Rica - but if he does play, his impact may be limited after recovering from a knee injury sustained prior to the competition getting underway.

Lawrenson wrote in his Daily Mirror column: "He's an outstanding striker who has just had a fantastic season with Liverpool. But his time-out following a knee operation will surely limit the impact he can make.

"Aside from Suarez, this Uruguay team - as I said last week - just don't frighten me. I've seen Lake Lugano turn quicker than Uruguay's Diego - judging from the evidence of the defeat against Costa Rica.

"Going forward Uruguay obviously have some quality in the shape of the likes of Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan. Unusually for a South American team, though, they played a lot of long balls on Saturday night and, again, England should be able to deal with that easily."

Some have suggested that England's performance against Italy was one of the best at a finals in recent memory and they must step up and turn it into a result against Uruguay, or risk elimination from the tournament even before their final group game. 

It looks set to be one of the biggest games at the group stage of this World Cup which could see one of the big sides condemned to catching an early flight home, but it seems there is a confidence that England can still progress, meaning a victory against Uruguay on Thursday is a must.

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