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samedi 14 juin 2014

 
Group D is one of the toughest in the competition, with three former world champions - Uruguay, England and Italy - determined to get their hands on one of two passes to the second round.
While the Costa Ricans will have arrived in Brazil with the best intentions of causing an upset or two, they know their three opponents will view the Central American team as their most likely source of a guaranteed three points.
So, before England and Italy face off in the first of this group's mouthwatering ties between two international heavyweights, Uruguay must ensure it gets the job done against Costa Rica - the only side in the group ranked outside the world's top 10.
But coach Oscar Tabarez knows his side will come up against determined opposition in Fortaleza n Sunday (AEST).
"The Costa Ricans are fast and they will try and make life difficult for us," he said ahead of the clash. "Costa Rica is a major obstacle and we have a lot of respect for them.
"But our intention is to get the three points."
There can be little doubt that Luis Suarez - racing to fully recover from knee surgery in time to play - and Edinson Cavani could prove vitally important to Uruguay's campaign on its home continent, but veteran Diego Forlan's comeback from a stomach bug provides Tabarez with impressive strength in attacking depth.
"Age affects things like speed and other player characteristics but Forlan is still a very big part of this team, bringing his experience, presence on the pitch and great shooting skill from distance," he added.
Uruguay comes into the tournament on the back of a six-match unbeaten run, while Costa Rica has just one win from the same number of fixtures, and the underdog's attitude is very much that of a team with nothing to lose.
Indeed, it could be Costa Rica which winds up having the biggest say in who qualifies from Group D and it would deal Uruguay a significant blow with an upset.
"We will play without fear," coach Jorge Luis Pinto said. "We face three world champions and we can take them all on.
"What we feel is joy and motivation."
Needless to say that joy will reach new levels if Costa Rica can open its World Cup adventure with an unexpected win.

Uruguay (Possible, 4-4-2): Muslera; Pereira, Lugano, Godin, Caceres; Rios, Lodeiro, Stuani, Rodriguez; Forlan, Cavani.
Test: Suárez (knee).
Costa Rica (Possible, 5-4-1): Navas; Gamboa, Umana, Gonzalez, Acosta, Diaz; Bolanos, Borges, Tejeda; Campbell, Ruiz.


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