Italy qualified as winners of UEFA Group B, winning six and drawing four of their matches. This was not an easy group with Denmark, Czech Republic and Bulgaria the best of their opposition.
Italy have won the World cup four times, most recently in 2006, but failed to win a match at South Africa 2010. In total they’ve won 44, drawn 21 and lost 15 of the 80 World Cup finals matches they’ve played.
Their most recent form is not the best, however, drawing four and losing one of their last five internationals.
On closer inspection of their form Italy have only beaten the Czechs, Bulgaria, Japan, Mexico, San Marino and Malta going back to the start of 2013.
Professional nut case, Mario Balotelli, top scored with five goals in qualifying and he is key to this team. If he misfires i’m not sure the Italians have enough firepower at their disposal, especially with fitness doubts over Giuseppe Rossi.
Uruguay had a tough time in qualifying for such a talented team, finishing fifth on goal difference behind Ecuador in their group. They won seven, drew four and lost five of their 16 matches, scoring 25 goals and conceding the same amount.
Louis Suarez top scored with 11 goals and he also topped the scoring in the group, from Messi with 10.
Uruguay won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950 but the players from those tournaments have now retired. They finished 4th in the last World Cup and have only failed to get out of the group stages in three of the eleven World Cups they’ve been in.
Uruguay bring one of the most exciting forward lines to the tournament with not only Suarez but also Edinson Cavani, Abel Hernandez and the ageing Diego Forlan at their disposal.
England qualified unbeaten from UEFA Group H with six wins and 4 draws, scoring 31 times in their ten matches while conceding just four. It should be noted that 22 of those goals came in the four games against San Marino and Moldova. England have won 26 of the 59 matches they’ve played at the finals and eight of the 18 since 1998, losing just three.
England will scrape through the group and get knocked out on penalties shortly afterwards. That’s how it works isn’t it?
England could go OK in this World Cup but in order to do so manager, Roy Hodgson, has to be brave and play the talented ‘kids’ he has in his squad like Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson and Ross Barkley. If he goes with the old guard of Rooney, Gerrard and Lampard they will fail. It’s that simple.
Costa Rica qualified as runners up behind USA , winning half of their 10 games, drawing three and losing the other two. They are really up against it in one of the toughest groups.
The best Costa Rica have managed in the three World Cups they’ve qualified for is the Round of 16 in 1990. They’ve won three of the 10 matches they’ve played.
I’m against Italy so the best bet could be the Uruguay/England quinella at $3.50 with