Group D will be a highly competitive group. England, Italy, and Uruguay are prime candidates to go far in the tournament; but sadly only two make it out. Costa Rica will need a miracle to make it out amongst the lions and tigers. I feel very foolish but somehow I feel Uruguay will falter on their home continent, although that is hard to say.
England, Italy, and Uruguay have all won the tournament at some point and all three have a rich soccer history. Between the three of them they have won the Jules Rimet trophy seven times Italy (4), Uruguay (2), and England (1). Italy will probably finish at the top of this hotly contested group and somehow the English lads always make it out so I see this year being no different.
Costa Rica: Costa Rica has a tough road in Group D. There is no way around that fact. They should be pleased they qualified for the World Cup and hopefully they can steal a point or two and play spoiler. Realistically they have a very slim chance of making it out. Dwight Howard has a better chance of shooting 70% from the charity stripe in a month than Costa Rica has of advancing. If Costa Rica can shock the world it lies solely on the shoulders of two players. Forward Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell. Both are looking at uphill climbs, but they do have the quality to put Costa Rica on the scoreboard.
England: The English have a spirited and passionate tradition for football. Yet every English fan knows that the dreaded penalty shootout has always been the undoing along with the ultra conservative lineup and tactics that get them to that point. This time around hopefully they are trying to bring glory to the queen as opposed to a heart attack.
It begins and ends with Wayne Rooney who is one of the world’s best footballers without a question. Rooney has it all but for whatever reason on the biggest stage he seems to go ghost for his country. Hopefully there will be a twist in plot and Rooney can assert himself favorably.
The player that to me will make the most impact for England is Daniel Sturridge. He is in hot form and he can score from any angle really. His pace could prove to be quite menacing for the opposition along with his wizardry on the ball.
England also has a trio of world class footballers that will be providing great service for Rooney and Sturridge. Steven Gerard, Frank Lampard, and young Jack Wilshere will look to help bolster the English attack while retaining a slow English tempo that is known for relying on long balls. Gerard is the guy that will have to take some risks and you really would be hard-pressed to find a finer midfielder to try and get goals.
Other notables on a star studded English squad are young up and comer Phil Jones in defense, Glen Johnson attacking from the right back position, Gary Cahill in the back, and young Raheem Sterling attacking from the right flank. Joe Hart in goal is another big time performer that will need to be chasing clean sheets to give England that edge. The key for England will be managing all the egos and playing as one.
Italy: The Italians always play a strong and organized game that harps on defense more than scoring. They are the best at counter attacking their opponents when you push too many forward. Italy have all the star power to make a strong push in Brazil but it all starts will the controversial Mario Balotelli. One of the only black Italians in recent memory Mario is convinced he is the best and the World Cup is just another platform to flex his muscles. Simply put the lad scores goals and has supreme talent.
Alongside Balotelli is a quieter player but boisterous and full of goals, Ciro Immobile. The great Andrea Pirlo will look to provide these talented forwards with balls only a surgeon can deliver. One of the best playmakers ever will try to create scoring chances for Italy in drones. The talented Italian back line will be anchored by Giorgio Chiellini. Other notable players are Antonio Cassano playing forward, Lorenzo Insigne the speedy forward, Danielle De Rossi in midfield, defender Ignazio Abate, and oddly both keepers for Italy are magnificent Gianluigi Buffon and Salvatore Sirigu.
Uruguay: Uruguay hopes to go far in Brazil and shut some of the critics up. Their chances of advancing depend on arguably the best striking partnership in the tournament. Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani. Both have built quite a resume for themselves. Luis Suarez has been one of the best strikers in the past year and Uruguay really need a big boost from the superstar striker. His ability to finish and score goals out of nothing will be a huge factor for Uruguay. His running mate up top Edison Cavani will also be wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. Cavani is a smooth forward with a great nose for goal and a tireless worker.
The Diegos in the back, Lugano and Godin, will be looking to stay solid in the back. They both are very good ball winners and Uruguay will need them at their best to maintain clean sheets. Another key contributor for Uruguay will be the legendary Diego Forlan. Forlan has a quirky way of commanding the ball to do as he pleases when he strikes it. The end result is usually a classy finish.
Other notable players are Cristian Rodriguez attacking on the flanks, and Walter Gargano in the midfield. Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera is an elite keeper who will have to be ready against a good field of opposing strikers. – BoSo ¤