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Alongside Group B, Group D is considered to be one of the hardest and most unpredictable groups in the competition.

It consists of Italy, Uruguay, England and Costa Rica.

World Cup 2014: Group D previewBetween them they have a won a total of seven World Cup titles, and are blessed with world-class players.

Italy

Group D ItalyItaly are a country renowned for their fantastic achievements in football. Their national team and clubs have been dominant on many occasions over the years.

Cesare Prandelli’s side have fared well in recent competitions, runners-up to Spain in Euro 2012 and securing third place in the Confederations Cup.

Italy progressed from qualifying with two games to spare thus securing their place in the Brazil 2014.

The talent that they are privileged with is blatantly obvious as Prandelli’s side contains the likes of Daniele de Rossi, Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo; giants in the football world!

Player to watch

Mario Balotelli is my player to watch, the former Manchester City striker has an impressive record with his national side. Entering the World Cup as Italy’s top scorer in the qualifying stages with five goals.
Italy player to watch Mario BalotelliThe AC Milan forward played a vital role in ensuring Italy’s place on the Euro 2012 final scoring twice against Germany. Thus far in his roller coaster club career the 23-year-old had scored 88 times in 222 appearances for four clubs respectively.

He also boasts an impressive record for his country scoring 12 goals in 29 games. I believe that Mario Balotelli will have a significant role to play if Italy succeed in Brazil.

Where will Italy finish in Group D? 1st

England

Group D EnglandUnder the guidance of Roy Hodgson the hopes of a nation rest.

The former Liverpool coach will be dreaming of leading the Three Lions to their first trophy for a lengthy 16 years.

Despite only qualifying with their final group match, England managed to do so in impressive style, defensively. They remained unbeaten throughout the qualifiers whilst conceding only four goals.

Hodgson will certainly be hoping that England can replicate the same defensive form in Brazil, whilst attempting to win a first World Cup since 1966.

Player to watch

Without a shadow of a doubt Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is England’s player to watch. The Red Devil has managed a staggering 232 goals in 517 appearances for both Everton and United respectively. Rooney has a record of 38 goals in 90 appearances for his nation, however he has an alarmingly mediocre track record in the World Cup.
England player to watch Wayne Rooney

The striker has scored zero goals in his last 8 World Cup games which stretch back to the beginning of the 2006 tournament in Germany.

I’m sure Rooney will be determined to improve that record this campaign, and prove to fans and media alike that he’s still worthy to lead England’s front line.

Where will England finish in Group D? 2nd

Uruguay

Group D UruguayUruguay enter the World Cup as a force to be reckoned with considering the talent that their start-studded squad posses.

Oscar Tabarez has one of the best attacking partnerships in the whole competition in the form of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and PSG’s Edinson Cavani.

The pair would be a welcomed addition to any team. However, Tabarez must concentrate his focus on his defence.

Despite the presence of the experienced Diego Godin and captain Diego Lugano Uruguay have an appalling defensive record conceding 25 goals during the qualifiers, with 16 of those goals coming away from home.

Ultimately I believe that it is this weakness in the side that will lead to their failure in Group D.

Player to watch

After such an marvellous season it is clear who Uruguay’s player to watch is, that’s if he’s fit of course?
Uruguay player to watch Luis SuarezLuis Suarez has had a brilliant season, being named the FA Player of the year and he also won the Premier League Player of the season award.

The Liverpool forward scored an amazing total of 31 goals earning him the Premier League time leading goal scorer with 38 goals. If he is fit I’m sure that Suarez will play a crucial role in his country’s ambition to progress from Group D.

Where will Uruguay finish in Group D? 3rd

Costa Rica

Group D Costa RicaCosta Rica are extremely unfortunate to be drawn into a very tough group. Costa Rica progressed rather comfortably to Brazil finishing in a respectable second place in qualifying.

However, many expect that Costa Rica do not posses the quality required to overcome opponents such as Italy, England and Uruguay.

Their hopes have been also dealt a big blow with the absence of Everton full-back Bryan Oviedo and first-choice forward Alvaro Saborio.

Player to watch

Jorge Luis Pinto will be looking for his experienced players like Fulham’s Bryan Ruiz to help guide his side through a difficult Group D. Ruiz has netted 74 times in 201 club appearances, the 28-year-old has also scored on 12 occasions for Costa Rica in 63 appearances.

Costa Rica player to watch Bryan RuizWith a move away from Craven Cottage looking increasingly likely, Ruiz will be looking to impress this World Cup and attract interest from clubs around the world.

Where will Costa Rica finish in Group D? 4th

More World Cup 2014 Group Previews:
Group A .. Group B .. Group C .. Group E .. Group F .. Group G .. Group H

Post written by Llion Carbis
Blog: thatfootyblog.wordpress.com, Twitter: @carbislli

Note: The views expressed within this blog post are those of the contributing author, and may not necessarily reflect those of MatchDayApp Limited, its representatives or associated partners.

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