World Cup 2014: 5 Reasons Why Italy Will Not Advance Beyond Group Stage

5 Reasons Why Italy Will Not Advance From Group D

MarcelloLippi1
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

Italy was handed a complicated group at the 2014 World Cup, drawing Uruguay, England and Costa Rica, in what seems to be a three-way fight for the top two places to advance. Italy received some bad news that will not aid their attempts, when midfielder Riccardo Montolivo was ruled out of the tournament through injury. That will make life that little bit tougher for the Azzurri and here are 5 reasons why they will not advance from Group D.

5. Mario Balotelli

Italy striker Mario Balotelli
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5. Mario Balotelli

Italy striker Mario Balotelli
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Mario Balotelli can easily win you any game and he can just as easily lose you any game too. Having him in your team is one thing, but relying on him to guide you to glory is another. Rumors suggest Balotelli may even be carrying a groin injury which could hamper his tournament and all-in-all, it leaves the Azzurri's chances in a precarious position. Balotelli is totally unpredictable, and it makes your chances as a team, just as unpredictable.

4. Awkward First Game

Raheem Sterling is given a red card against Ecuador
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4. Awkward First Game

Raheem Sterling is given a red card against Ecuador
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Italy's first game will be in Manaus, in the Amazon Jungle, which is one of the hottest and most humid venues you can play at in this years World Cup. The temperature is expected to be somewhere around 30C (85F) and the humidity around 80%. It will be extremely uncomfortable for both Italy and their opponents England. Italy have an older first XI, though, and chasing a younger, fresher England team may prove more difficult than first expected.

3. Grueling Travel Schedule

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani
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3. Grueling Travel Schedule

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani
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Italy will be among the most traveled teams during the World Cup group stage. The grueling travel schedule of Italy will hinder the recuperation and recovery, as they travel long distances between their group games. It could also have a carry over effect to each game and Italy will be fatigued by the time they play Uruguay in their final group game, who will be fresher and playing in comfortable surroundings in Brazil.

2. Unreliable Attack

Mario Balotelli and Ciro Immobile talk during training
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2. Unreliable Attack

Mario Balotelli and Ciro Immobile talk during training
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Italy have strikers of good talent and potential, but still unproven at the very highest level as yet. Ciro Immobile has had one very good season in Serie A, while Lorenzo Insigne is gifted but even more so unproven. Alessio Cerci had a good year at Torino, but he is also erratic with his performances. Mario Balotelli is unpredictable period and Antonio Cassano is the king of talented but erratic and unpredictable.

1. Terrible Form

Italy manager Cesare Prandelli
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1. Terrible Form

Italy manager Cesare Prandelli
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Italy has not won in their last seven games, which includes six draws and one defeat. The seventh of that run came when the Azzurri drew 1-1 with lowly Luxembourg on Wednesday. Italy never plays well in friendlies and in the lead up to big international tournaments, yet they still perform when it matters most. That may be true, sometimes, but Italy also finished bottom of their World Cup group in 2010, in a group they should have won.

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