World Cup preview: Group D teams, players and schedule

June 11

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez (Associated Press)

Group D

(Uruguay, Costa Rica, Italy, England)

The favorite: Italy. The Azzurri surprised many with a run to the final of Euro 2012. Everybody’s ready for them now. Too many words have been written about the midfield maestro that is Andrea Pirlo, but he really is that good.

The sleeper: England. The Three Lions have reason to be optimistic, with 19-year-old Raheem Sterling and 20-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain forming part of an energetic young core with no ties to previous English failures in the spotlight.

Player to watch: Luis Suarez, F, Uruguay. The English Premier League’s leading scorer will square off against several Liverpool teammates when Uruguay faces England — a game that could decide which team advances.

Predicted order of finish: Italy, Uruguay, England, Costa Rica

Schedule:

Uruguay vs. Costa Rica (Sat., 3 p.m., ABC); England vs. Italy (Sat., 6 p.m., ESPN);
Uruguay vs. England (June 19, 3 p.m., ESPN); Italy vs. Costa Rica (June 20, noon, ESPN); Italy vs. Uruguay (June 24, noon, ESPN); Costa Rica vs. England (June 24, noon, ESPN2)

Analysis of other World Cup groups: Group A  |  Group B  |  Group C  |  Group E  |  Group F  |  Group G  |  Group H

More on the World Cup:

World Cup preview, TV listings, game schedule

How to watch the World Cup on your computer

Fancy Stats: Brazil will roll through group play

Blatter faces increasing opposition to re-election bid

U.S. focused on opener vs. Ghana

An American (ref) in Brazil

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