Roy Hodgson confident England have firepower to see off Uruguay

Luis Suarez training with Uruguay ahead of Thursday's game with England
Luis Suarez training with Uruguay ahead of Thursday's game with England

Roy Hodgson firmly believes England have the fire power to gun down Uruguay and keep their World Cup dreams alive.

After four days of praise, criticism, analysis and debate, crunch time arrives for England on Thursday night.

Manager Hodgson’s 23-man squad landed in Sao Paulo on Wednesday morning knowing they would almost certainly be boarding a plane back to England next week if they lost.

Only a highly improbable set of circumstances would allow Hodgson’s men to have any chance of making it through if they did so and a draw would take England’s fate out of their own hands.

Much has been made of the threat Luis Suarez will pose to England, but Hodgson has extremely talented attackers at his disposal – or “weapons” as he likes to describe them.

And just like in Manaus, Hodgson will tell his young arsenal not to be afraid of going on the attack in Sao Paulo.

“We saw on Saturday night that even a top team like Italy got tested by the quality of our attacking play so we’re not going to put any of our weapons down,” the England manager said.

“Any weapon we’ve got we are going to try and use.”

Hodgson is not a man for Churchillian speeches in the dressing room, so this was as close to a rallying call as we can expect to hear from the England boss.

Hodgson said he was unsure whether the Uruguay match should be regarded as the most important of his 39-year managerial career.

But the former Liverpool and Inter Milan coach clearly understands what is at stake.

“Even though it is the group stages, this is knock-out football,” the 66-year-old said.

“It is an important moment. We want to stay in the competition and to do that we’ve got to get results in the next two games. No-one is running away from that.”

Hodgson admits Suarez is a major threat and he hopes his defence will be able to stifle the Liverpool striker.

“He’s a front player. He plays all along the front line. He makes runs behind defenders, he comes off and gets the ball short,” Hodgson said, when asked if he had a plan to stop Suarez.

“He does all the things you want a top player to do. So all we can do is make certain our defence is compact and we make it difficult for him in terms of not giving him space and the chance to do the things he wants to do.”