World Cup 2014: Gary Lineker - England should have no fear

Gary Lineker on England's bright future

England have a bright future and should go into their match against Uruguay confident of victory, says former captain Gary Lineker.

Roy Hodgson's team, beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening World Cup game on Saturday, play Uruguay on Thursday.

"It was an encouraging performance against Italy even if it was a rotten result," said Lineker.

"There is nothing for England to fear. What they have to do is reproduce the performance they showed against Italy."

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England completed 89.5% of their 267 passes in the opposition half which, going into Tuesday's matches, was the highest of any team in the tournament.

"Those statistics were extraordinary for an England team," added Match of the Day presenter Lineker, who scored 48 goals in 80 England appearances.

"I cannot remember England coming close to another team when it comes to those sorts of passing statistics."

He said that if England keep playing the same way, then the "future looks considerably brighter than it did even just a few months ago", even if they ultimately fail to make it out of their group.

"England have got some terrific young players coming through," added the former Leicester, Tottenham, Everton and Barcelona frontman.

England played a 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday, with Daniel Sturridge, 24, as a lone striker in front of Wayne Rooney, 28, Raheem Sterling, 19, and 23-year-old Danny Welbeck.

"England played some really good football," added Lineker. "Sterling was exceptional. He took people on, he is strong, quick and dangerous."

Lineker said he expected manager Roy Hodgson to pick a similar team for the game against Uruguay, although he conceded Rooney could be shifted into a different position after starting wide on the left against Italy.

Gary Lineker
Lineker played in two World Cups, starting 12 games and scoring 10 goals

But he added that "all eyes will be on Sterling to see if he can perform as well" as he did against the Italians.

Uruguay were beaten 3-1 by Costa Rica in their opening game and were without Luis Suarez as he continues to recover from knee surgery.

The Liverpool striker had keyhole surgery to repair meniscus damage in his left knee on 22 May.

"I'm sure Suarez will play some part - they have nothing to lose - but can he really be 100% fit?" asked Lineker. "I rather think not."

Group D permutations for England
If England beat Uruguay, they will face Costa Rica knowing victory is likely to see them qualify.
If England draw, then victory against Costa Rica could be enough, if Costa Rica lose against Italy on Friday.
If England lose, then they would need to beat Costa Rica and hope Italy beat Uruguay and Costa Rica.