England drawn in tough World Cup group

THE WORLD CUP 2014 group draw took place today, and England were given a draw they would have dreaded. Drawn in Group D alongside Uruguay, Costa Rica and Italy, English hearts sunk when Sir Geoff Hurst drew that ball bearing their name. Here, we assess the three teams standing in their way to the last sixteen.

Italy 

The Fifa World Cup 2014 in Brazil promises to be a special one. Photo: Flickr/TicketstoBrazil

The Fifa World Cup 2014 in Brazil promises to be a special one. Photo: Flickr/TicketstoBrazil

England open their campaign against the Italians on June 15 in the Amazonian city of Manaus. There have been twenty four meetings between these two sides, with England having won eight of them. The last time they met was August 2012, with England winning 2-1, although in Euro 2012 Italy beat England on penalties to knock them out.

Their last meeting during a World Cup was in 1997, ending in a 0-0 draw. Interestingly, Roy Hodgson had stated his desire to avoid Manaus, as England will be based in Rio de Janeiro and have to travel 1777m there and back for this fixture.

Key men: Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli and Gianluigi Buffon.

Where: Manaus, northern Brazil. Expect very high temperatures and humidity (possibly 99%) due to the nearby Amazon rainforest, which will be uncomfortable for the Europeans.

When: June 15 2014.

Uruguay

England’s second game will be against the South Americans, who will certainly be no pushovers having finished third in South Africa four years ago, in Sao Paulo on June 19.  There have been ten meetings between these two sides, with England having won three of them. The last time they met was in 2006 with England winning 2-1; they last met during a World Cup in 1966, England’s only World Cup success, which ended in a 0-0 draw.  Sao Paulo was recently in the news for the wrong reasons when a crane collapsed at a stadium, resulting in two deaths.

 Key men: Luis Suárez, Edinson Cavani and Gastón Ramirez.

Where: Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. Temperatures very similar to Rio de Janeiro, with a tropical, mild climate.

When: June 19 2014.

Costa Rica

England’s final game will be against the Central Americans on June 24. These two sides have never met in any capacity, but depending on results in the group, this could either be a vital final game for England or their final game in the tournament. Costa Rica be the expected whipping boys in this group, but should not be underestimated, something USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann warned Roy Hodgson about after the draw.

Key men: Brian Oviedo, Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz

Where: Belo Horizonte, the country’s third largest city, in south-eastern Brazil. Its climate is mild throughout the year, although the summer is known to be rainy.

When: June 24 2014

Chester Intelligencer reporter, Sean Lunt

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