Here is a look at what Group D will look like in the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Players To Watch: Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli, Stephan El Shaarawy
Italy is no stranger to the World Cup, as they’ve qualified for every tournament since 1962 and they’ve won it on four separate occasions. This year, they’ll be led by Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli and Stephen El Shaarawy as they attempt to win their first World Cup since 2006. While Group G was highly publicized as this tournaments Group Of Death, Group D is going to be an equal challenge. The top three teams of Italy, Uruguay and England all have great odds to win and every game is going to be pivotal. During the qualifiers, Italy was able to get six wins and four ties, allowing them to cruise into their spot in the tournament. Italy didn’t do well in 2010 and it was on display for the whole world to see. They’ll hope for a better showing this year with Pirlo, Balotelli and El Shaarawy. But with the competition in Group D being so tough, they certainly won’t have an easy time advancing.
Players To Watch: Luis Suárez, Diego Forlan, Diego Lugano
After a fourth place finish in 2010, Uruguay will look to show that it’s back and ready to win their first World Cup since 1930. This year they’ll rely on Luis Suárez as the key figure, as he is a top player for Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League. Suárez will be joined by Diego Forlan and Diego Lugano, as they try to balance the defense with Suárez’s crafty skill on offense. The team from Uruguay sits at favorable 28/1 odds to win it all. But there is only room for two teams to advance from this grouping. If Uruguay hopes that it’s them, they’ll need a huge win against either Italy or England, or both, as well as a convincing win against Costa Rica.
Player To Watch: Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Joe Hart
In many cases, it’s hard to imagine that England would not be one of the favorites to advance from group play. But with 33/1 odds to win the World Cup, that leaves them slightly behind Italy and Uruguay in the eyes of odds makers. And in reality, that may be an honest assessment. Sure, Wayne Rooney is one of the top players in the world and Joe Hart is one of the best in the business in net. But this English national team has shown struggles of late, filled with plenty of turmoil within the ranks. Despite having a great draw for Group H in qualifiers, England barely made an impact with six wins and four draws. And while that may be the same as Uruguay, keep in mind that one of the wins was a slim one-goal margin over Ukraine, who failed to even make the tournament. England will always be a threat, but they’ll need to be able to come together as a team in ways they haven’t demonstrated in previous years if they hope to advance out of an incredibly tough Group D.
Player To Watch: Bryan Ruiz, Alvaro Saborio, Joel Campbell
This will be the fourth go at the World Cup for Costa Rica, and their first since 2006 after missing the 2010 tournament. This year, they didn’t show well in their first two qualifying matches against the USA and Panama, but the then went on a streak of six games to earn their spot in 2014. This team revolves heavily among the efforts of Fulham player Bryan Ruiz. However, they’ll also look at equal imput from long-time star Alvaro Saborio, as well as Joel Campbell. These three players often carry the load for Costa Rica, though it still may not be enough. The team from Costa Rica has the second longest odds in the tournament, sitting at 2500/1 to win it all. With the other teams in Group D battling it out, it’d be a miracle story if Costa Rica was able to advance.