World Cup, Group D from the Chelsea angle: Players to watch

Sturridge picks up new dance moves - Handout

For the next month, much of the world will be wrapped up in the World Cup. Here are some players to keep an eye on from Group D.

COSTA RICA

Jun. 14:  vs. Uruguay
Jun. 20:  vs. Italy
Jun. 24:  vs. England

Chelsea players: none

Potential transfer targets: none

Others: It's not that Costa Rica are bad -- especially when not playing in a blizzard -- it's just that when Bryan Ruiz is your most dangerous player, you're probably aren't going to turn too many heads.  Joel Campbell might one day rise above that level though.  You may remember the Arsenal loanee's goal against Manchester United in the first knockout round of last season's Champions League.  And if nothing else, Keylor Navas should provide us with a few highlight reel moments.

ENGLAND

Jun. 14:  vs. Italy
Jun. 19:  vs. Uruguay
Jun. 24:  vs. Costa Rica

Chelsea players: Frank Lampard (105)*, Gary Cahill (24)

Potential transfer targets: Talented Ross Barkley is an Oscar-level prospect.  Overpriced Luke Shaw has all the tongues wagging from Manchester to London and beyond.  Adam Lallana is older than you think.

Others: I'm sure we're all familiar with this ragtag bunch more than we'd ever care to be, but I am actually slightly curious just how well some of the younger or potentially more exciting members (read: Liverpool and Southampton players) in the squad might fare.

* Lampard's leaving the club after 13 seasons on June 30th.

ITALY

Jun. 14:  vs. England
Jun. 20:  vs. Costa Rica
Jun. 24:  vs. Uruguay

Chelsea players: none

Potential transfer targets: The list starts and ends with Mario Balotelli.

Others: Pirlo's beard.  De Rossi's aura.  Buffon's eyes.  Young talents like Mattia De Sciglio, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, and Marco Verratti.  The old, wily veterans elsewhere.  Italy - built on the Juve spine - may not always impress or overwhelm, but you know they'll get the job done.

URUGUAY

Jun. 14:  vs. Costa Rica
Jun. 19:  vs. England
Jun. 24:  vs. Italy

Chelsea players: none

Potential transfer targets: Obviously Luis Suárez could easily walk into any team in this world, but there are few players, if any, whom I covet more than Edinson Cavani.  Alas, having missed out on our window of opportunity last summer, he'll probably never play for Chelsea.

Others: Gastón Ramirez has kind of disappeared at Southampton, but he's still just 23.  Abel Hernández, similarly still just 23, impressed in last summer's Confederations Cup (albeit mostly against Tahiti, which puts him on par with Fernando Torres) and has averaged just under a goal-per-game for Palermo this past season.  Center back Diego Godín had quite the season at Atlético Madrid.  Meanwhile, Diego Forlán is still an active player apparently.

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