By Vishnu Nagaraj
Group D consists of Uruguay, Italy, England, and Costa Rica. This group is loaded with talent. Uruguay could quite possess the best striking partnership in the world with Liverpool forward Luis Suarez and PSG forward Edinson Cavani. Uruguay will look to the two of them to lead the line against some very formidable competition. Veteran forward Diego Forlan will also be making a return to the national team and he could be a key player for the Uruguayans. Next we have Italy. They have been one of the most consistent national teams in the past few years. Just like Spain, Italy possess an extremely talented midfield with the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi, and Claudio Marchisio. They also have one of the most scrutinized players in the world, AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli. He is mainly known for his hot-headed nature but also for his incredible ability to score goals. Another name to keep an eye out for is New Jersey-born forward Giuseppe Rossi who has recovered from several terrible injuries to make the Italian team. Next is probably the most talked-about team in the world, England. They have the talent and they have the leadership to make a deep run but inconsistency and drama from the players could threaten to wreck their ambitions. Manager Roy Hodgson has placed an emphasis on youth as he has selected six players who are 22 years of age or younger. This team, however, will be lead by their veterans. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Wayne Rooney will be tasked with moving this team as far as possible. Lastly, we have Costa Rica. They are without a doubt the biggest underdogs of this tournament. Most experts have given Costa Rica a zero percent chance of advancing from this group and I would have to agree with that. As big a soccer fan as I am, I can only name one player of the top of my head who plays for Costa Rica and that is easily their best player, Bryan Ruiz. My hope for the Costa Ricans is that they play with pride, enjoy the experience, and have fun. This, in my opinion, is the true “group of death” as I believe that three out of the four teams have a legitimate chance of advancing to the knockout round.
Vishnu Nagaraj is a finance major at Binghamton University. He is a self-taught DJ and sports fanatic. His favorite teams are the Yankees, Brooklyn Nets, San Diego Chargers, and FC Barcelona. You can follow him on twitter at @DJVishMusic.