By Ryan Ratty @RyanRattyNFL on June 11, 2014
The days of Italy and England dominating the competition are over, but Group D has a lot of competition with the two countries along with Uruguay and Costa Rica. Whoever wins this matchup will put themselves in good shape to win the group. Here are five matchups you should keep an eye on.
Jack Wilshere is starting to become a star for the England squad. Wilshere is a smart player who can make a play on offense and defense. He is a dangerous goalscorer, and it will be up to Antonio Cassano to keep him out of the net.
Like Wilshere, Daniel Sturridge is also another midfielder who has a ton of talent. Claudio Marchisio of Italy has had a decorated career, and he will have the task of keeping the ball away from Sturridge if he gets near the net. Marchisio is a veteran and he will also play an important role at helping the younger players and their assignments.
Although he is nothing like he was once, Frank Lampard is still a real good player for the British. Lampard is an attacking midfielder, but he leaves much to be desired on the defensive end. Unlike Lampard, Daniele De Rossi is a midfielder who excels at defense. De Rossi will play a big role in stopping Lampard and his offensive prospects.
Many feel like Wayne Rooney is old and his body is breaking down, but he just keeps proving us wrong. Rooney has played 12 years now, but he is only 28 years old. Rooney is the best offensive player on this England team, and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will need to stop Rooney on all offensive efforts for Italy to win this one.
Mario Balotelli is quickly becoming one of the best players in the world. With A.C. Milan, Balotelli has flourished in Serie A and he will look to keep his game going in the 2014 World Cup. Joe Hart is one of the most underrated goalkeepers in the world, but he will have his hands full with Balotelli.
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