The second group of death was drawn in the fourth group. Powerhouses Uruguay, Italy and England are joined by CONCACAF runners-up Costa Rica. The pairing of European teams almost always provides for a group of death, and adding in a South American team and a rising North American power only solidifies it.
Los Charruas are led by arguably the most dangerous front line in world soccer today. Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan have a combined 95 international goals between them and could break the 100-goal mark by the time the World Cup comes. An experienced midfield and defense behind them make Uruguay one of the most dangerous teams in Brazil.
World Cup winners most recently in 2006, the Italians will look to bounce back after a disappointing 2010 showing where they didn’t advance out of the group stage. However, a runner-up finish in the 2012 UEFA European Championship will give the Blues hope they can replicate that form in South America.
A truly balanced squad of experience in Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi and Gianluigi Buffon, coupled with the dynamic youngsters Mario Balotelli, Stephan El Shaarawy, Marco Veratti and Angelo Ogbonna give the Italians confidence that they can have a good showing in 2014.
Los Ticos are in their first World Cup since 1990 where they were knocked out in the round of 16. Led by a pair of veteran strikers, Alvaro Saborío and Bryan Ruiz, along with young starlet Joel Campbell, the Costa Ricans will have an opportunity to score some goals and cause trouble for the more traditional powerhouses in the group.
England has the hearts of the nation resting on its shoulders, just like in every major competition. Having not won a trophy since the 1966 World Cup, the Three Lions will be out to prove doubters wrong. With such depth in the squad, it’s tough to tell who will be on the roster come June.
There’s no doubt players like Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard will be there. Young stars such as Jack Wilshere, Daniel Sturridge, Ross Barkley and Andros Townsend are likely to be included as well.