Group D: Uruguay v England preview

Luis Suarez expected to make a comeback for Uruguay against England, as both team need a win to avoid being send home.

England captain Steven Gerrard described his Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez as a 'genius' [EPA]

England expect to face an added danger with a Luis Suarez comeback for Uruguay in World Cup Group D on Thursday even if coach Oscar Tabarez has not confirmed his country’s top scorer for the match in Sao Paulo.

Suarez, who had knee surgery a month ago, missed Uruguay’s shock 3-1 defeat by Costa Rica on Saturday which has left them and England, beaten 2-1 by Italy, with a virtual do-or-die clash to keep their qualifying hopes alive.

England coach Roy Hodgson has given no hint of where he will play striker Wayne Rooney and captain Steven Gerrard said he believes the better defence will decide the outcome.

Uruguay will be short of two experienced defenders, injured captain Diego Lugano and suspended right back Maxi Pereira, while England forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has failed a fitness test on his knee.

Gerrard described his Liverpool teammate Suarez as a ‘genius’ at England’s press conference in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

“Luis Suarez is a genius, I’ve said it many, many times he’s a wonderful player,” the England captain said.

“I think it’s going to be a boost for the Uruguay players and their supporters to have him back… But they’re more than one player, they have other good players around the pitch, they’re a strong team, so we treat Suarez like any other Uruguay player. Of course we’ve got huge respect for them as a team and Luis as an individual and we have a game plan in place to try and win this football match.”

Gerrard added that he has impressed upon his England colleagues that they do not want to find out how it feels to bow out of a World Cup – a second defeat for England and Roy Hodgson’s men wopuld almost certainly be eliminated.

“I think the message is quite clear; I have spoken to the group during the week to reiterate that message of the pain of going out of World Cups. It’s something that we don’t want, we want to perform tomorrow and we want to stay here for as long as possible. I’m sure all the young lads and every one in the squad is aware how difficult a summer it’s going to be if we fail tomorrow.”

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still not fit enough to play for England at the World Cup, with the midfielder ruled out of Thursday’s match.

The 20-year-old Arsenal midfielder injured knee ligaments two weeks ago in a warm-up against Ecuador, and was mostly restricted to fitness work away from his teammates in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

Venue: Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo

Kick-off: June 19, 1900GMT

Key stats: Wayne Rooney has not scored a single goal in his nine World Cup appearances. Thursday’s game will be his 10th chance if he plays. The England striker created more chances than any other player of England vs Italy game (3, including one assist).

England has never won against Uruguay at the World Cup. They’ve met twice: in 1954 (Uruguay won 4-2 in the quarter-finals) and 1966 (0-0).

Daniel Sturridge has scored three goals in his last four appearances for England.

Uruguay have picked a red card in two of their last four games at the World Cup.