Of the first 22 games in the World Cup, 12 were won by the team that enjoyed the majority of possession of the ball; three finished in a draw and seven were won by the team that had the ball less than their opponents. There were two winners Thursday who fell into the latter category. Uruguay had only 38 percent possession, a figure was that surpassed by only Honduras against France and Iran against Nigeria -- only that Honduras lost and Iran drew.
Uruguay had the ball at their feet for 52 percent of the game against Costa Rica and lost. They ceded possession against England and won. Typical. England need space to counter-attack, as they did when scoring against Italy in Manaus. It's true that Wayne Rooney's goal, his first in what is his third World Cup, came from controlling the game in the attacking half -- from Daniel Sturridge to Glen Johnson, and then into Rooney.
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Uruguay like to lure their opponent in, and they need to at times due to their lack of quality in midfield. Against England this was their tactic, along with adding some talent in the middle. In the first half, Alvaro González and Nicolas Lodeiro managed to deliver some quality service to Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez.
But the tone is set by the strikers. The team looks sharp with Cavani and Suárez. And he's a hero in his number 9 shirt, the man who came back from a knee injury to give the "Celeste" a chance to take on Italy in the third round of group games with their hopes still alive.