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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup™

Coach: Cesare Prandelli 
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain)
Defenders: Ignazio Abate (Milan), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Gabriel Paletta (Parma)
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Marco Parolo (Parma), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris Saint-Germain), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli) 

Fri           06/09/13             WQE      Italy                     1 - 0       Bulgaria              
Tue        10/09/13             WQE      Italy                       2 - 1       Czech Republic
Fri           11/10/13             WQE      Denmark              2 - 2       Italy      
Tue        15/10/13             WQE      Italy                       2 - 2       Armenia             
Fri           15/11/13             FRI         Italy                     1 - 1       Germany
Mon      18/11/13             FRI         Italy                       2 - 2       Nigeria
Wed      05/03/14             FRI         Spain                     1 - 0       Italy      
Sat         31/05/14             FRI         Italy                      0 - 0       Republic of Ireland
Wed      04/06/14             FRI         Italy                       1 - 1       Luxembourg     
Sun        08/06/14             HYF        Fluminense          3 - 5       Italy

Nickname(s)     Gli Azzurri (The Blues)
Association        Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC)
Confederation                 UEFA (Europe)
Head Coach       Cesare Prandelli
UEFA European Football Championship: Runners Up (2012)
FIFA Confederations Cup : Third Place (2013)
Serie B: 1998–99 1st – Promoted
Serie B: 2000–01 4th – Promoted
Captain                Gianluigi Buffon
Most Caps          Gianluigi Buffon (140)
Top Scorer          Luigi Riva (35)
FIFA code           ITA
FIFA ranking      9
Highest FIFA ranking     1 (November 1993, February 2007, April–June 2007, September 2007)
Lowest FIFA ranking      16 (April 1998, October 2010)

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

Strengths – Experience. Teamwork. Goalkeeper and heart of the midfield.  Buffon, Pirlo, De Rossi, Veratti.
Weaknesses – If Pirlo does not play his role as a Mozart, then the symphony of the Italy squad will be unlikely to be heard.  The right side of the Azzurri is open to exploitation from opposition. Abate.
Opportunities – The Pirlo’s dependence might be a chance to De Rossi and Veratti to take the helm of the national team if the opposition tries to focus too much on the maestro and consequently hurt them with new Opportunities and unexpected goals. Balotelli and De Sciglio.
Threats – No catenaccio anymore, now Italy is playing a more continental football. They are too emotional when losing and this can be an opportunity for the opposition. 


Coach: Óscar Tabárez
Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Vasco da Gama), Rodrigo Munoz (Libertad).
Defenders: Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica), Diego Lugano (West Bromwich Albion), Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez (both Atletico Madrid), Sebastian Coates (Liverpool), Martin Caceres (Juventus), Jorge Fucile (Porto).
Midfielders: Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio), Alvaro Pereira (Sao Paulo), Walter Gargano (Parma), Egidio Arevalo Rios (Morelia), Diego Perez (Bologna), Cristian Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Gaston Ramirez (Southampton), Nicolas Lodeiro (Botafogo).
Forwards: Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain), Abel Hernandez (Palermo), Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka), Christian Stuani (Espanyol).

Wed      14/08/13             FRI         Japan                    2 - 4       Uruguay             
Sat         07/09/13             WQS      Peru                     1 - 2       Uruguay             
Tue        10/09/13             WQS      Uruguay               2 - 0      Colombia
Fri           11/10/13             WQS      Ecuador              1 - 0       Uruguay
Wed      16/10/13             WQS      Uruguay                3 - 2      Argentina
Wed      13/11/13             WQI       Jordan                   0 - 5       Uruguay             
Wed      20/11/13             WQI       Uruguay                0 - 0       Jordan
Wed      05/03/14             FRI         Austria                  1 - 1       Uruguay
Sat         31/05/14             FRI         Uruguay               1 - 0       Northern Ireland
Thu        05/06/14             FRI         Uruguay               2 - 0       Slovenia

Nickname(s)     Los Charrúas
La Celeste (The Sky Blue One)
La Garra Charrúa
Association        Asociación Uruguaya de Fútbol (AUF)
Confederation                 CONMEBOL (South America)
Head Coach       Óscar Tabárez
Copa Libertadores: 1987
Intercontinental Cup runner-up: 1987
Boca Juniors
Primera División: 1992 Apertura
Supercopa Masters: 1992
Pan American Games: 1983
Copa América: 2011

South American Coach of the Year: 2010, 2011
Asst Coach         Celso Otero
Captain                Diego Lugano
Most Caps          Diego Forlán (110)
Top Scorer          Luis Suárez (38)
Home stadium Estadio Centenario
FIFA code           URU
FIFA ranking      7
Highest FIFA ranking     2 (June 2012)
Lowest FIFA ranking      76 (December 1998)

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

Strengths – One of the contenders for the competition. They will try to bring old memories into life. “Brazil-Uruguay”. They are familiarized with the weather. The willingness they possess is greater than any other team. The aggressive approach boils in their blood. They have the best attacking line of the World Cup mixed with fresh and experienced players.  Their versatile runs are also something to be taken into account. Muslera, Suarez, Cavani, Ramirez, Lodeiro, Pereira, Godin.
Weaknesses – Being aggressive as their pros and cons. On a negative note, it can turn into an endless yellow/red card situation that will damage severely the squad chances in every single match once it occurs. Large gap between the Midfielders open to exploitation from a quicker opposition. Rios, Caceres, Lugano.
Opportunities – Using the attacking line as their biggest asset can provide “millions” and pave way to the latest stages of the competition. Stuani
Threats – Playing heavily depending on the strikers, might lead you to very hurtful defeats. This happened in the qualifying round. Hopefully, Uruguay will learn from past mistakes in order not to jeopardize their big chance in South American soil. The match against Italy will define the team that will go far in the knockout stages.  

Costa Rica

Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense) Daniel Cambronero (Herediano).
Defenders: Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Giancarlo Gonzalez (Columbus Crew), Michael Umana (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Bruges), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Heiner Mora (Saprissa), Junior Diaz (Mainz 05), Christian Gamboa (Rosenborg), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls).
Midfielders: Celso Borges (AIK), Christian Bolanos (Copenhagen), Esteban Granados (Herediano), Michael Barrantes (Aalesund), Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa), Diego Calvo (Valerenga), Jose Miguel Cubero (Herediano).
Forwards: Bryan Ruiz (PSV Eindhoven, on loan from Fulham), Joel Campbell (Olympiakos, on loan from Arsenal), Randall Brenes (Cartagines), Marco Urena (FC Kuban Krasnodar). 

Sat         07/09/13             WQC     Costa Rica           3 - 1       United States   
Wed      11/09/13             WQC     Jamaica                1 - 1       Costa Rica          
Fri           11/10/13             WQC     Honduras           1 - 0       Costa Rica
Wed      16/10/13             WQC     Costa Rica            2 - 1       Mexico               
Tue        19/11/13             FRI         Australia             1 - 0       Costa Rica
Thu        23/01/14             FRI         Chile                   4 - 0       Costa Rica          
Sun        26/01/14             FRI         Costa Rica           0 - 1       Korea Republic
Thu        06/03/14             FRI         Costa Rica           2 - 1       Paraguay            
Tue        03/06/14             FRI         Costa Rica           1 - 3       Japan   
Sat         07/06/14             FRI         Costa Rica           1 - 1       Republic of Ireland

Nickname(s)     Ticos
La Sele
Association        Costa Rican Football Federation
Sub-Confederation        UNCAF (Central America)
Confederation                 CONCACAF
Head Coach       Jorge Luis Pinto 
Colombian First Division - Champion
Cúcuta Deportivo, 2006-II
Costa Rican First Division - Champion
Alajuelense, Apertura 2002
Alajuelense, Clausura 2003
Alajuelense, Apertura 2003
Peruvian First Division - Champion
Alianza Lima, 1997
Torneo Apertura 1997
Torneo Clausura 1997, 1999
Venezuelan First Division - Champion
Deportivo Táchira, 2010–11
Captain                Bryan Ruiz
Most Caps          Walter Centeno (137)
Top Scorer          Rolando Fonseca (47)
Home stadium Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica
FIFA code           CRC
FIFA ranking      34 Steady
Highest FIFA ranking     17 (May 2003)
Lowest FIFA ranking      93 (July 1996)

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

Strengths – Flexibility in terms of strategies. Able to play from the back with 3, 4 or 5 Defenders. With box-to-box Defenders or without.  Ruiz, Campbell.
Weaknesses – Not being able to get the ball forward as often as necessary and when doing so, not capitalizing the chances in goals. Ruiz and Campbell will carry the nation on their shoulders are they to impress as they did back in the 90s. Diaz, Gamboa.
Opportunities – Back to the old days, using long ball will be the focus of the team trying to score early in order to keep balance and compact in defence so that they achieve unexpected results. 
Threats – Having Italy, Uruguay and England, 3 previous World Cup winners should tell the tale. 


Coach: Roy Hodgson
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Celtic), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Forwards: Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Daniel Welbeck (Manchester United) 

Fri           06/09/13             WQE      England             4 - 0       Moldova            
Tue        10/09/13             WQE      Ukraine               0 - 0       England              
Fri           11/10/13             WQE      England             4 - 1       Montenegro
Tue        15/10/13             WQE      England               2 - 0       Poland 
Fri           15/11/13             FRI         England             0 - 2       Chile
Tue        19/11/13             FRI         England               0 - 1       Germany
Wed      05/03/14             FRI         England               1 - 0       Denmark
Fri           30/05/14             FRI         England             3 - 0       Peru     
Wed      04/06/14             FRI         Ecuador                2 - 2       England
Sat         07/06/14             FRI         England               0 - 0       Honduras

Nickname(s)     The Three Lions
Association        The Football Association
Confederation                 UEFA (Europe)
Head Coach       Roy Hodgson

    Halmstads BK
Allsvenskan  : 1976, 1979
Örebro SK
Division 2 North   1984
Malmö FF
Allsvenskan  : 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
Svenska Cupen  : 1985–86, 1988–89
Inter Milan
UEFA Cup Runner-Up  : 1997
Danish Superliga  : 2000–01
Danish Super Cup  : 2001
UEFA Europa League Runner-Up  : 2010
LMA Manager of the Year  : 2010           
Asst Coach         Ray Lewington
Captain                Steven Gerrard
Most Caps          Peter Shilton (125)
Top Scorer          Bobby Charlton (49)
Home stadium Wembley Stadium
FIFA code           ENG
FIFA ranking      10
Highest FIFA ranking     3 (August 2012)
Lowest FIFA ranking      27 (February 1996)

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

Strengths – The compact team England has it. They are strong overall in most areas, but are heavy in debt to the game in terms of individual essence. Still, this is the competition that will see some of the new talents stepping into the heavy boots that England has. If Italy is about Pirlo, then England will be about Gerrard to provide the attacking line the right delivery so that they can use their strength and pace, Rooney, Welbeck and Sturridge.  Baines.
Weaknesses – They are insecure when playing major competitions. One of the big dogs has to fall between England, Italy and Uruguay. If they maintain a strong defensive line, then they will fancy their chances of going far in the competition. Johnson, Jagielka.
Opportunities – This World Cup reminisces old traditions and therefore England might not want to relinquish on the title chances or at least enabling them to go far like in the 90s or even 60s. Sturridge, Henderson, Lallana.
Threats – Weather will be one of the major enemies to England. The Group itself is one of the most complicated of the competition. Italy match will define the chances of advancing while Uruguay will define the positioning of the table.

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