The win has set up a last-eight meeting with the Republic of Korea in Cardiff on Saturday evening.
The clock was ticking down towards the interval when Joe Allen wove a neat pattern inside the Uruguay box before drilling the low cross which Sturridge prodded home from close range.
Chelsea man Sturridge has now scored two in two games, a fact the watching Roy Hodgson - whose England team take on Italy in a fortnight - cannot help but have noticed.
Meanwhile, Senegal joined GB in the last eight after leading striker Moussa Konate rescued a point against UAE at the City of Coventry Stadium.
Konate scored his fourth goal in three Group A matches early in the second half to cancel out Matar Ismaeil's opener.
It meant that Senegal finished in second spot on five points - behind GB - and they will face Mexico in the quarter-finals.