Cape Town - Sport24's Wade Pretorius previews Group D at the 2014 Soccer World Cup and thinks England may just scrape through.
I don’t know why but I am backing England to scrape through Group D and defy the FIFA rankings which have Uruguay and Italy as favourites. Spare a thought for Costa Rica as they have to face Uruguay with Luis Saurez, England with Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge and Italy with Mario Balotelli.
It could get messy quickly for Costa Rica and they are likely to be the whipping boys in the “Group of Death”.
Costa Rica: 34th
Players to watch:
Luis Saurez, Edison Cavani (both Uruguay), Joel Campbell (Costa Rica), Mario Balotelli, Ciro Immobile (both Italy), Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge (both England).
Two to go through:
Team to create a stir:
Italy are the obvious choice to cause some commotion in Group D. They will need to find the back of the net consistently though and this places all the pressure on the mercurial Mario Balotelli. If Balotelli turns up then it could be curtains for England and their fledgling defence who will be without the experienced duo of John Terry and Ashley Cole in Brazil.
Match not to be missed:
England v Uruguay – This is the Group of Death. England could be in a precarious position by the time they face Uruguay and I am sure that Roy Hodgson will have his team set out to attack Uruguay. This is exactly where the problem might come for England as Uruguay will be looking to counter-attack at every opportunity. Did I mention Luis Saurez is most probably fit and will be ready for this game?
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Do you think England are going home early? Or will Luis Saurez break Italian hearts? Have your say in the comments section on you think will be progressing from Group D.
Click here for our Group A, Group B and Group C previews.
Follow Sport24's Wade Pretorius on twitter: @wadepretorius