Italy face off against Costa Rica in a tie that could virtually seal the fate of Group D.
Where to watch -
Viewers in USA can catch the game at 12 PM EST/9 AM PST at -
Enrique Osses (Chile)
Starting lineups -
Italy XI: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Darmian; De Rossi, Pirlo, Motta; Candreva, Marchisio; Balotelli.
Costa Rica XI vs Italy: Navas, Gonzalez, Umana, Borges, Duarte, Bolanos, Campbell, Ruiz, Diaz, Gamboa, Tejeda.
The Italians would be in positive mood going into today’s fixture on the back of their 2-1 victory over England, whose second straight loss last night meant that they are on the brink of elimination. A victory for the Italians could almost seal their safe passage into the next round.
Costa Rica -
They turned up with a surprise on opening day by shocking Uruguay 3-1 and turning the ‘Group of Death’ on its head which sees them lead the group, as things stand. They would be hoping that they can continue their giant-killing run with the scalp of Italy.
Both the team’s attacking and defending statistics were scarily identical, when the likes of chances created, goals scored, shots on target, interceptions and blocks were taken into account. That sets them up perfectly well for this top-of-the-table clash.
Men to watch out for -
Though Italian maverick Mario Balotelli scored the decisive goal against England, it was Andrea Pirlo who conducted play with elan in the middle of the park, and I fully expect the veteran midfielder from Juventus to once again have a telling contribution.
Costa Rica were unplayable in attack against Uruguay, and a certain Joel Campbell stood out during the match, and got his name on the score sheet. The Arsenal-man will be keeping the Italian defenders busy.
While the vibrant and energetic Costa Rica side will try to dazzle the crowd at Arena Pernambuco again, I do not see them causing yet another upset and Italy to win with a decent margin.
Italy 2-0 Costa Rica