Day 8 of the FIFA World Cup presents an intriguing encounter between England and Uruguay in Group D. If either side loses, they could be on the brink of elimination.
Meanwhile, there are two Group C matches, including Colombia facing Ivory Coast. Greece takes on Japan in the third and final game of the day.
Here are three keys for all three matches.
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To start or not to start Didier Drogba?
That is the question. Ivory Coast’s all-time leading goal scorer was left on the bench for the Elephants’ opening match against Japan. When the Galatasaray forward was substituted into the game, the Ivoirians scored twice in as many minutes en route to a 2-1 win.
Now manager Sabri Lamouchi has a major decision to make. He’s not afraid of dropping Drogba and has shown that in the past, but surely in such an important match for his team, the iconic talisman has to be given the nod up front.
Even at 36 years old, Drogba is a powerful, lethal goal scorer who can help out in many ways. It’s cliché to say that the former Chelsea man lifted his team, but it was evident that he had a major impact in Ivory Coast’s confidence.
Considering how slow and open the Colombian defence is, Lamouchi would be smart to start Drogba, who would be a real handful for Los Cafeteros.
England must replicate ending of Italy game
In England’s 2-1 loss to Italy last Saturday, The Three Lions were handled easily for the most part, but were able to trouble the Azzurri’s defence with their pace and quick ball movement towards the end of the game. It nearly led to the tying goal.
The English face a very slow Uruguay squad, who will be without captain injured Diego Lugano. Maxi Pereira’s red card versus Costa Rica means that manager Oscar Tabarez is shorthanded at the back.
Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera has been abysmal for many years, even during the 2010 World Cup run and 2011 Copa America triumph. He’s error prone, indecisive and has little to no confidence.
This is the perfect opportunity for England to attack Uruguay whenever they get the chance. They have the clear advantage in speed, so Roy Hodgson’s side must use it. It created so many issues for Italy, so surely it’ll be a cakewalk versus the Uruguayans.
Japan must utilize creative players
Japan had more touches from their front four (201) than Ivory Coast’s (188) in their match-up last week, but were out-passed and out-possessed.
Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa were rarely contained by the Ivorian defence. However, in the second half of the match, they tailed off and went invisible for the rest of the night.
That can’t happen against Greece if Alberto Zaccheroni’s team has any hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages. Greece’s defence was easily opened up by the flair and technique of James Rodriguez, Teofilo Guttierez and Juan Cuadrado.
Japan has similar players that can carve open the backline. They just have to be constantly involved and surely they’ll produce some moments of magic that can lead to a victory.