The importance of this evening's clash between Uruguay and England went up a few notches after both sides came out of their opening matches empty-handed albeit in contrasting fortunes. And, from what I read of England striker Daniel Sturridge's comments in his pre-match press conference, seems like the mind games have begun too.
Roy Hodgson's side gave a good account of themselves against Italy especially in the first half where they looked dangerous going forward. I'm still baffled by what happened in the second half with their players clearly cramping. So I'm still skeptical about their sharpness as the match progresses, but I'd like to think they can regroup and sort out the issue in time to face the Uruguayans.
The South Americans, on the other hand, stumbled to an unexpected 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica. What that loss has done is pile the pressure on Oscar Tabarez' men to get positive results against both England today and the Italians in their final group match.
And I just wonder if the do or die situation has prompted the return of star striker Luis Suarez. Reports suggest Suarez will take on the English at Sao Paulo today, but I don't think it's advisable to play him as I doubt he's fit. I feel Tabarez is running a big risk playing his talisman if he is not ready as the last thing he would want is losing him for a bigger period.
England seem to have a few headaches of their own with many back home calling for their own superstar Wayne Rooney to be dropped. That's purely a call Roy Hodgson and the team management have to take. They know it's a must win game and if they feel they need to drop a big player or two to obtain maximum points, I don't think they'll hesitate to do it.
Mind you, he did produce a great assist for England's equaliser, and I do agree with those who feel his ability was neutralised playing wide on the left. He's got to play in his preferred central position in attack where he's at his most dangerous. So it has been tough for him; to play out of position and then get criticised.
Once again, though, don't be surprised if the players who you are so used to seeing dazzle all year through suddenly looking lacklustre. It's a big challenge, after all, to play at that same intensity after a long hard club season.