World Cup Group D: Analyzing Italy's Group Stage Opponents

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World Cup Group D: Analyzing Italy's Group Stage Opponents
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Italy's starting XI poses for the traditional team photo before their friendly against Nigeria at Craven Cottage.

The World Cup draw is now a week old, and Cesare Prandelli's Italian team have to be happy with what they got, considering the alternative.  Fans likely gasped after being the unlucky team drawn into Pot 2 from the nine-team European pot, but the Azzurri avoided a potential super-group with the likes of Brazil, the United States and the Netherlands.

Instead, the Italians were given the very manageable draw of England, Costa Rica and Uruguay.

Nothing is for granted—after all, the defending champions of four years ago were gifted the easiest group of the tournament in South Africa and spit the bit. But the group Italy finds itself in this time around is one that they should be expected to progress out of, and topping the group is well within expectations.

Let us, then, take a close look at Group D, starting with the Italians and making the rounds of their opponents to see just what we can expect when play starts on June 14.

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