Group D is one of the toughest of this year’s World Cup. With team’s like England and Italy being joined by the 2010 third place team as well as Costa Rica, it will be a hard one to get through.
Clearly the underdog of the group, Costa Rica is not expected to make it through, but could make it interesting and difficult for other teams. They will struggle in the group, and will have a hard time winning, but they have a solid goalkeeper who could frustrate teams.
Once again it seems that expectations for the Three Lions are gaining traction. Despite attempts to temper these and relieve the pressure of the World Cup, pundits and fans alike are beginning to hype this team. The players are well known to any fan of the Premier League, after all, 22/23 players play in the EPL.
This year could be the year they live up to expectations. They have some excellent attacking options and their quick midfielders should cause problems for opponents’ defenses. Their back line is probably the one area of concern at this time.
When most people think of Italy, they think of Alessandro Pirlo. As they should. He is playing in his third World Cup and is the engine for this team. With most teams looking to shut him down, the addition of Marco Verratti in midfield will be a massive boost. Italy has several strong attacking options with Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli, though, Balotelli is still prone to outbursts and could drift in and out of games.
While they may have finished third in the last World Cup, I do believe they could struggle this time around. They have an aging squad (third highest average age at 28.1) and, arguably, their best player, Luis Suarez, is not going to be fully fit to start. Even without a fully fit Suarez, they have plenty of other attacking options including Edinson Cavani and Christian Rodriguez.
England – winner
Italy – runner-up
Uruguay – third
Costa Rica – fourth
While I’m picking England and Italy to progress, this is far from a done deal. Uruguay have some very talented players and could just as easily come out on top in this group.
The winner of Group D will go on to face the runner-up in Group C, while the runner-up here faces the Group C winner. This could be Colombia, Japan, or the Ivory Coast.
Head over to the 2014 World Cup section to get the following:
Also, be sure to keep checking back for my weekly predictionsthroughout the tournament.