The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ brings together three teams that have made tournament history and one that is out to cause an upset in Group D, with many fans already counting the days until the matches between England, Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica kick-off. After the Final Draw in Costa de Sauipe, the key protagonists gave their thoughts on the unique make-up of the group.
Celso Otero, Uruguay assistant coach
There are three world champions in our group and that says a lot for how competitive it’ll be. All that’s left is to enjoy the tournament. We know a lot about our opponents - we played against Italy at the Confederations Cup so that’ll help both sides. We played Costa Rica in the play-offs prior to the last World Cup, although in the last four years they’ve progressed and have some new faces now. England are a great team. Now we have to stay calm and see what options will work best in each game.
Jorge Luis Pinto, Costa RicaWe’re happy with the draw. I don’t need to say that they’re all good teams. Uruguay are always difficult and Italy and England are always among the strongest sides in Europe. Obviously everyone will be looking at the teams around us, but we knew we’d have tough opponents and the fact that we’re facing world champions only increases our desire to do well at the tournament. That means that even if we’re not the best team in the group, we have to be the best prepared.
Roy Hodgson, England
When I look at the group I think it’s going to be very tough. Some have called it the Group of Death, in part because of us too. Our opponents have got world-class players: [Luis] Suarez is a top player, but so are [Edinson] Cavani, [Mario] Balotelli and [Andrea] Pirlo. I like to think there are two or three players in our team who are at the same level and that Italy and Uruguay are starting to think about [Steven] Gerrard, [Wayne] Rooney and Co.
Cesare Prandelli, Italy
You don’t see three world champions together every day, but that’s exactly what makes a World Cup so special: it’s the biggest football party there is and as such it’s where you find the biggest teams. As I said earlier, I knew that whatever the draw it’d be difficult and what it really changed has to do with logistics. Now we know where we’ll play and the problem’s we’ll have to face: the temperatures and the travelling. That means we can now start working in order to be well-prepared.