World Cup 2014 draw: The run down on England's group opponents Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica
Glenn Moore runs the rule of the sides England will face in Group D
Italy v England, 14 June 2014
A formidable opening game, the more so for the energy-sapping Amazon location. Italy have won all three tournament ties with England, at Euro ’80, Italia ’90 (in the third-place play-off) and in Kiev last year when Andrea Pirlo’s “Panenka” helped end England’s Euro 2012 campaign at the quarter-finals. From Gigi Buffon through Giorgio Chiellini, Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi to Mario Balotelli Italy have class and steel. But Roy Hodgson knows calcio well and would settle for a repeat of Kiev’s pre-shoot-out stalemate.
Uruguay v England, 19 June
Uruguay won the World Cup the last time it was in Brazil and, having reached the semi-finals in 2010, will fancy their chances again. With a forward line of Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan, La Celeste have the firepower. Yet Uruguay only qualified through a play-off after a poor campaign and captain Diego Lugano cannot get a game at West Bromwich. They beat England in the 1954 finals and held the hosts at Wembley in 1966. The teams have met once in 18 years, England winning 2-1 at Liverpool in 2006.
Costa Rica v England, 24 June
England have never met Costa Rica but the Central Americans did defeat Scotland in the 1990 finals, the first of three previous finals Los Ticos have attended. Ranked 31 in the world and captained by Fulham’s Bryan Ruiz, Costa Rica also feature Everton defender Bryan Oviedo and Joel Campbell (ostensibly an Arsenal player, he has spent his career on loan). Outsiders, but there is talent. Even the tiniest village in Costa Rica has a church, a school and a football pitch. And England lost to the US in Belo Horizonte in 1950.
Latest in Sport
MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix 2015: Five things we can expect this season plus what to look out for as Marc Marquez begins title defence
WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of WWE event
Gareth Bale to Chelsea: Real Madrid to be 'tempted by £75m offer' this summer
Thierry Henry shows he's still got it with incredible pass against Jamie Carragher's side during Steven Gerrard tribute match
Manchester United transfer news: Chris Smalling and Phil Jones face uncertain future with contract renewal talks on hold
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories