FIFA World Cup 2014 at a Glance: Group D

Group D is a unique group. It features three previous World Cup winners which means that at least one former World Champion will crash out after the group stage. So here I am analyzing which of these champions has the potential to go through and which will exit the competition early.

Group D

Team: Costa Rica

Manager: Jorge Luis Pinto

Path to Qualification:

The Costa Rica team qualified via the CONCACAF qualifiers and placed second behind the US overall. They managed to win five games, drew three and lost two on their way to the World Cup. Overall, the team scored thirteen goals and conceded seven.

The Game Changers:

This is Costa Rica’s fourth World Cup appearance and their first since 2006. So teams will not know what to expect from the underdogs. That factor might just work in their favor as they could take other teams by surprise.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 4
Best Finish: Round of 16 (1991)

Prediction for the Group: 4th

The Costa Rican team are the underdogs in this tournament. Unfortunately for them, they have been put in a group consisting of three former World Champions, two of which have to be considered favorites to win the title. So unless a miracle happens, I don’t see Costa Rica progressing beyond the group stages.

Interesting Fact:

The Costa Rica national team made its debut in September 1921 in the Independence Centenary Games, a tournament which they won.

Team: England

Manager: Roy Hodgson

Path to Qualification:

England were placed in UEFA’s Group H during the qualification stage with the likes of Ukraine, Poland and Montenegro. The Three Lions easily topped their group and remained undefeated throughout qualification. They posted six wins and four draws and scored thirty one goals along the way, conceding only four.

The Game Changers:

England has a plethora of talented youngsters in their squad. We don’t quite know who will make Hodgson’s final squad but there are some names which we can be sure that they will be included. Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are some of England’s highly talented youngsters, who can really change the game if they are marshaled properly. If stalwarts like Steven Gerrard can organize these youngsters, then they can do some serious damage.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 13
Best Finish: Winners 1966

Prediction for the Group: 3rd

Despite the fact that you can never quite count England out of any tournament, it seems unlikely that they will be able to beat Italy and Uruguay. Hodgson’s squad has been set up to stifle the opposition and not let them score, which causes problems for England to score as well. They will most probably beat Costa Rica but I don’t see them winning against Italy and Uruguay, two teams which have the quality to break down England’s defense.

Interesting Fact:

England are one of the two oldest national soccer teams in the World along with Scotland. The two teams played in the first ever international soccer match in 1872.

Team: Italy

Manager: Cesare Prandelli

Path to Qualification:

Italy was placed in UEFA’s Group B along with established teams like Denmark, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. Like most top teams, the Italians easily negotiated their group and remained unbeaten, posting six victories and four draws. The Italians managed to score nineteen goals in the process and conceded nine.

The Game Changers:

Andrea Pirlo:
The hugely talented mid fielder is ranked among some of the best in the world. His cool head, great vision and sublime technical ability are one of Italy’s greatest assets and if his team can help him retain his possession, then Pirlo can orchestrate any opposing team’s defeat.

Mario Balotelli:
Love him or hate him, you simply can’t ignore Super Mario. The young Italian has proven his talent for scoring outrageous goals, and if he can keep his focus on the game, then opposing teams will have a hard time stopping him.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 18
Best Finish: Winners (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006)

Prediction for the Group: 1st

The Italian team can never be considered underdogs for any tournament, simply because of the quality of their players. After a disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign, the Italians made it to the final of EURO 2012 and lost to Spain. The new generation of Italian soccer players must have gained an enormous amount of experience from the European championship, so if they can use it to their advantage in Brazil, they can go all the way.

Interesting Fact:

The Italian national soccer team is the second most successful team in World Cup history after Brazil. The Azzuri have won four titles.

Team: Uruguay

Manager: Óscar Tabárez

Path to Qualification:

Uruguay had a tumultuous qualifying campaign and placed fifth in the CONMEBOL qualifiers. As a result they had to face Jordan in the play-offs. The Uruguayans defeated Jordan and booked a place in the finals. They won seven games, drew four and lost five games during qualification.

The Game Changers:

The Uruguay team features two of the most feared strikers in modern day soccer, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Suarez especially has been in sublime form for both his club and his country. He was the highest goal scorer during CONMEBOL’s qualifiers and has been instrumental in Liverpool’s success this season.

Edinson Cavani has carved a reputation for himself as one of the top strikers playing in Europe. His exploits with his club PSG have brought him closer to another league title. Cavani was also in prolific form for his country during the qualifiers and netted an impressive six times.

Together Suarez and Cavani can decimate any opposing defense and score multiple times in a game. For Uruguay to succeed these two players, they must be in top form. Oh and I forgot to mention a certain Mr Diego Forlan as a potential striking option.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 12
Best Finish: Winners (1930, 1950)

Prediction for the Group: 2nd

The Uruguayan team has been showing promise in recent years. They made it to the semifinals of the 2010 World Cup and the 2013 Confederations Cup. The team were also crowned Champions of South America after they won the Copa America in 2011. Considering their impressive string of results in international tournaments, the Uruguayans can easily be considered as one of the favorites to escape their group. They might stumble against the more experienced Italian side, but other than that I think they will go through at the expense of England.

Interesting fact:

Uruguay won the first edition of the FIFA World Cup, which was held in Uruguay itself in 1930.

Based on the evidence presented above, I think England is going to go home early after the group stages along with Costa Rica. But hey, if you think otherwise, then let us know in the comments below.

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Ivy Oscar is a professional writer and blogger from Magnolia, Delaware. She likes to write about music, sports, celebrities and all the good things in life.
Categories: Soccer, Sports

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