England vs. Italy: Key Battles in 2014 World Cup Opener

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England vs. Italy: Key Battles in 2014 World Cup Opener
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

England have been drawn in Group D of the 2014 World Cup, facing Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

They kick off their campaign in the Amazonian city of Manaus against the Italians, the team who knocked England out of Euro 2012 on penalties.

For the weather alone, it's a match that is going to throw up its fair share of conundrums, but there will be plenty of matchups across the pitch that will be even more intriguing, something that wasn't lost on England manager Roy Hodgson in the aftermath of the draw.

"It’s s tough group, there’s no doubt about that," he said in a TV interview with BBC Sport. "Italy were very unlucky not to be seeded (for the group stages). We know how good they are after losing out to them on penalties at the Euros.

"It’s (going to be) tough climatically, but it’s against another European team.

"It’s going to be difficult to put a positive spin on our (group stage) opponents. Even Costa Rica are a very good team and Jurgen Klinsman has warned me how good they were in the qualifiers (against USA).

"I've never been to the Amazon, so it's going to be an interesting experience (playing there) for me and the rest of the team."

England vs. Italy doesn't kick off until June 14, but while there may be more than six months to go, Bleacher Report whets the appetite by looking at some of the key battles that will be fought in Arena da Amazonia.

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