Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill tips England to see off Uruguay threat

Northern Ireland suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Uruguay last month

Northern Ireland suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Uruguay last month

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Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has tipped England to keep their World Cup dream alive by seeing off Uruguay on Thursday night.

England lost 2-1 to Italy in their Group D opener last Saturday night, while Uruguay were defeated 3-1 by Costa Rica.

It makes Thursday’s clash a make-or-break tie for both sides.

O’Neill, whose side lost 1-0 to Uruguay in Montevideo on May 31, believes England can take advantage of the South Americans’ uncertainty at the back.

“There is a huge responsibility on Diego Godin to manage that back four as Lugano likes to play very deep,

“Maxi Pereira will obviously miss the England game after being sent off against Costa Rica and it will be interesting to see who coach Oscar Tabarez brings in.

“Certainly there are opportunities to get at Lugano. He gets exposed and I felt in the Costa Rica game he was at fault for the first and the third goals.

“So certainly the likes of Sturridge, Welbeck, Rooney and Sterling can exploit that space.

“The other area where I feel they lack a little bit is in midfield. They have two very committed and workmanlike players in there but they lack that little bit of creativity.

“And I think there are spaces between the midfield and the back four which England can exploit.”