Italy vs Costa Rica Preview
June 18 RECIFE, Brazil
Stadium: Pernambuco arena, Recife.
Referee: Enrique Osses (Chile)
Italy will face off against Costa Rica at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife today with everything at stake. With yesterday’s match, Uruguay are close behind as they defeated England in a stunning 2-1 game, which throws the entire group into a number of permutations of who might progress further in the tournament. A draw between both sides will ensure England’s exit from the World Cup. A win, however for either side assures they will continue to stay on in Brazil. Costa Rica will be booming with confidence as they caused a huge upset within the Uruguay camp as they opened their campaign with a 3-1 win over ‘The Sky Blue’. Ranked 28th in the world, the ‘Los Ticos’ have proved to be a dark horse in this competition. If they manage to pull off another win, they might actually go really far in this World Cup. Coach Pinto will probably make one or two changes to his starting lineup, keeping the chemistry intact so they push the Azzuri off their feet. With 5 men in the defense, Costa Rica are able to keep their opponents on the lookout for gaps to exploit which is rare, as we saw in the Uruguay match. Even with the likes of Forlán and Cavani up front, it seemed impossible to penetrate the defensive back, with chances being wasted due to the solid pressure. Duarte and Diaz will be the players to keenly watch at the back as they can pull a counter and revert back to defense instantly. With a lone striker in the form of Campbell up front, his pace will be a cause for concern for the Italians. If Italy’s experienced defensive barrier can’t keep up, we might just see a flurry of goals, shocking the entire Italian fanbase.
“Italy have great players like Balotelli and Pirlo, who controls all of their play, and we have a lot of respect for them,” said FC Copenhagen midfielder Christian Bolanos.
Italy have already made their impact in the WC with a 2-1 win over the Three Lions. Of the three matches Italy has in the group stages, this is the easiest game, and snatching up 3 points will be the only thing on Prandelli’s mind. With the way things are going, a win today will most likely make certain of the Azzuri topping Group D in spectacular fashion. Coach Prandelli will probably not rest some of the important players in his squad after seeing Costa Rica’s opening match. Taking no chances, he might just make two or changes to his side, preferably the attacking front which sports Balotelli. He might just add Insigne or Immobile to support their relentless stride. Pirlo will also play an important role as the Juventus playmaker will see to it that his side plays the passes and makes sure their shots on goal are not wasted. Marchisio will also retain his spot right behind Balotelli, if he is played as the lone striker. Sirigu might be played on as Italy’s goalkeeper, with doubts still being raised about Juventus GK, Buffon ahead of the match.
Italy vs Costa Rica Match Facts:
- Italy have reached the final in two of their last four major tournaments as well as a semi-final appearance at last year’s Confederations Cup.
- Costa Rica have not made it past the group stages in the World Cup since 1990.
- Previous meetings: The two teams have played each other once, with Italy winning.
- Andrea Pirlo is one of three current Italy players who won the World Cup in 2006 along with 36-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and 30-year-old midfielder Daniele De Rossi
Facts compiled from sports.yahoo.com
Italy vs Costa Rica Possible Starting Lineups:
Italy: Gianluigi Buffon (possible); Matteo Darmian, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Ignazio Abate; Daniele De Rossi; Claudio Marchisio, Thiago Motta, Andrea Pirlo, Antonio Candreva; Mario Balotelli.
Costa Rica: Keylor Navas; Júnior Díaz, Michael Umaña, Giancarlo González, Johnny Acosta, Cristian Gamboa; Christian Bolaños, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz; Joel Campbell.
Italy vs Costa Rica Prediction:
Italy 3 – 2 Costa Rica