First Team To Advance: Italy
Second Team To Advance: Uruguay
Teams Heading Home: England, Costa Rica
This group is so enthralling because it has three teams, Italy, Uruguay, and England, who all have ambitious World Cup aspirations to go along with extremely talented rosters. Uruguay’s team sheet probably takes the cake in terms of star players, with a duo of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez up top (plus, don’t forget about Diego Forlan) that is probably one of the best striker tandems in the world. However, despite all the stars on their roster, Uruguay never seem to come together as a team as well as they should, while chemistry is one of Italy’s strongest attributes. Italy also have the veteran experience of stars like Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi, and Giorgio Chiellini, to go along with one of the best back lines in the world and a striker, Mario Balotelli, who, when in form, can be one of the most electrifying forwards in the world. Thus, I see Italy taking first in the group and the competition for second place likely being between England and Uruguay. England has a fantastic mix of veterans and youth, as well as a perfect balance of composure and pace, but I just don’t see them having quite enough talent to overcome Uruguay, especially with the recent injury to budding star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Costa Rica certainly did well to make it out of CONCACAF and qualify for the world cup, but it would be something of a miracle to see them take even a single point from this very difficult group. My prediction for the leading scorer of the group is Italy’s Mario Balotelli, while I see Italy’s Andrea Pirlo taking home the title for most assists.