6 Players England Should Fear in World Cup Group
England will have to face a huge number of dangers in the so-called group of death in the World Cup at Brazil 2014. Roy Hodgson's team will have to face of Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica while taking in the cities of Rio, Manaus, Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte.
After travelling thousands of miles, England will then, somehow, have to summon the energy to contain some of the best players in the world.
Uruguay possess two of the best strikers on the planet in Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Paris Saint-Germain FC's Edinson Cavani. Mario Balotelli, of Italy and AC Milan fame, will lead the Azzurri's strikeforce with Juventus' Andrea Pirlo pulling all the strings from a deep lying role in midfield.
Then comes the least fancied team in the group, Costa Rica. Los Ticos will go to Brazil fully expected by many to lose every single match. However, in the likes of Fulham's Bryan Ruiz, Everton's Bryan Oviedo and Arsenal's Joel Campbell they have the players to hurt any team.
Read on as Bleacher Report brings you six players that England should fear in Group D in every way possible.
All statistics courtesy of FIFA.com and WhoScored.com
1. Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
International record: Played 76 Goals 39
There is no doubting that the player most on Roy Hodgson's mind at this very moment in time is Liverpool's Luis Suarez.
The striker has been in electric form since returning to duty following his suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic. In 10 games the 26-year-old has scored an incredible 14 goals and is the in-form striker in world football.
His movement is swift and intelligent, his vision is sublime and his finishing is instinctive. If he retains his form throughout the season and towards the summer, England will not find it easy to keep him quiet.
2. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)
International record: Played 60 Goals 20
Also 26 years old, Edinson Cavani is a striker that every team at the World Cup in Brazil should fear, especially England.
The PSG forward has built a superb relationship with Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic since he joined the Paris-based outfit during the summer transfer window. In 20 games he has also scored 14 goals and when ex-Manchester United star, now of Brazil's Internacional, Diego Forlan is taken into account, they could beat any team.
Cavani is deceptively strong and is capable of playing in any number of positions up front, just like Luis Suarez. This is the prime reason that Uruguay are so dangerous. Their forwards interchange with alarming regularity and intelligence and Roy Hodgson will need a highly mobile defense if they are to contend with Uruguay.
3. Mario Balotelli (Italy)
International Record: Played 29 Goals 12
Mario Balotelli will need little introduction to the footballing masses, not that Luis Suarez or Edinson Cavani did either.
The brash ex-Manchester City striker is one of the most powerfully built and skillful footballers on the planet. He has all the tools to become one of the greats of the game, but his attitude on and off the pitch has kept that potential from being reached.
That might change at the World Cup where the 23-year-old will be charged with leading Italy to the knockout stages. He fears no team and will expect to expose England's central defensive pairing whomever they may be.
On his day he has the ability to dominate any team or match and Cesare Prandelli will have to gamble on the real-Mario Balotelli showing up. If he does then England will find their opening game a difficult proposition.
4. Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
International Record: Played 107 Goals 13
Andrea Pirlo will be one of the most experienced players to grace the World Cup at Brazil 2014.
The Juventus playmaker has been one of the best players on the planet for the last decade. The central midfielder is one of the best passers of the ball of all time and can put the ball on a sixpence from any distance. He controls Italy's midfield with style and panache and that all-important little bit of steel.
When he played against England at Euro 2012 he won the man of the match award so the opening game in the humidity of Manaus will hold no fear for him. If anything, his playing style is perfect for the stamina-sapping conditions. Roy Hodgson will have to cut Pirlo out of the game if England are to take full points from opening match.
5. Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica)
International Record: Played 92 Goals 30
Outside of the MLS and Costa Rica few people will have heard the name Alvaro Alberto Saborio Chacon.
The Real Salt Lake striker has been one of the most dangerous men in the MLS over the last two years and has scored 41 goals in 71 games. He opened the scoring in the 2013 MLS cup final against Sporting Kansas City after controlling the ball with his chest before firing past Jimmy Nielsen with aplomb. SKC eventually won the game after a marathon penalty shoot out.
The Costa Rican forward is powerful and quick and has notched up 30 goals in 92 games for Los Ticos. He leads the line that Bryan Ruiz supports and between the pairing they have more than enough skill to expose any defense.
"The Pipe", as he is also known, will be keen to put a poor World Cup in 2006 behind him and will see Costa Rica's last match in Group D, against England, as the ideal platform to put his stamp on the game.
6. Bryan Oviedo (Costa Rica)
International Record: Played 25 Goals 1
Twenty-three year old Bryan Oviedo is one of the Premier League's rising stars. Under the tutelage of Roberto Martinez, the Costa Rican international has made the most of Leighton Baines' latest injury by taking the league by storm.
The left-back-cum-left-sided midfielder has pace to burn and prowls the left side of the pitch in exactly the same way as Baines on his best days. Oviedo was signed for the Toffees in 2012 from FC Copenhagen by David Moyes.
Over the last year he has been slowly introduced to the rigors of English football and now he is ready to become a regular for Martinez. He has improved rapidly for Los Ticos since his initial move to Europe and now he is one of their most important players.
England will have to beware because Oviedo is a consummate defender and gets forward at every opportunity.