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World Cup Preview: Group D

I preview Group D of the 2014 World Cup. Group D contains England, Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Alexandre Loureiro

Group D, one of the more tightly contested groups this summer. There are 3 teams that could easily go through to the knockouts whilst Costa Rica could have a say who does.

England- There’s a different feel to The World Cup this summer for England after the two disappointing performances in South Africa and Ukraine. A young exciting look to the squad has left no expectations on the squad and Roy Hodgson. With several young debutants for a major tournament this year creating a different type of expectation, a keen sense of "can we?" England were handed a tough group and will have to play well to progress. I really think we can have a successful tournament this year and silence many of the critics. With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set to miss all 3 of England’s group games and if England are to progress, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Danny Sturridge will need to perform in Rio. With the Frank Lampard goal that never was and anther penalty heartbreak for England could fortune finally favour England and make it our year?

Key Player- Wayne Rooney, It’s the United Man’s time to shine. Rooney has scored only once in a majort and really needs to step up to the plate in Brazil. His coolness during hard times at Old Trafford this year will be tested in the hot sticky conditions in Brazil. If Rooney plays well, it will inspire the rest of the team to play well and really help the England fans make a racket in Rio.

Prediction-2nd-Quarter Final

Italy- Cesare Prandelli’s Italy are no strangers to knockout stages of major tournaments reaching the final in Euro 2012 and 3rd in the Confed. Cup. The Azzzurri have adopted the possession game under Prandelli with a formidable defence mainly made up from Serie A giants Juventus while the pass master Andrea Pirlo is making things happen from the heart of midfield with some exciting young players to bring some excitement to the Italian squad.

Key Player- It’s the Premier League’s old friend Mario Balotelli, the former City man has been in blistering form for AC Milan as he showed in brief glances for Man City. He could be very problematic for teams including England. Balotelli’s pace, strength and skill make him a realy threat at the point of that Italian attack, he showed his true skill with his double against Germany in Euro 2012, can he do it again?

Prediction-1st-Last 16

Uruguay- Oscar Tabarez’s side have a good chance of going through being very familiar with the conditions. Their 4-4-2 sees Edison Cavani become the focal point of their attack giving the inform Luis Suarez licence to explore the attacking line. Los Charruas seem slightly top heavy in attack as their defence isn’t the strongest nor is their midfield, which I see as a real problem for the Uruguayans.

Key Player- Luis Suarez, the Premier League’s top scorer has excelled this season for Liverpool. His 31 goals earned PFA Player of the Year; his ability to run with the ball is something to be admired as well as his eye for goal. A massive threat to any defence.

Prediction- 3rd

Costa Rica- Arguably better than most people think. This Costa Rica squad is one of the better ones compared to recent years.  A unlucky draw has given Los Ticos little chance of going through but they could still cause some problems for the other 3 teams in this group who will look to progress.

Key Player- Yeltsin Tejeda who wants to use the World Cup as a platform for a move to Europe is Costa Rica’s key man. The Defensive midfielder has a bright future ahead of him according to many.