On Friday, 20 June 2014 (9;00 Am Pacific), Italy (Italia) vs Costa Rica will take place at Arena Pernambuco in Recife, where it will be interesting to see if Los Ticos will be able to replicate their good performance against Uruguay.
Italy started off the competition with one of their usual skeptical performances against an enthusiastic English side. The Azzurri’s head coach, Cesare Prandelli, presented a tactical approach quite similar to the 5-3-2 with AS Roma’s Daniele De Rossi working as the “fifth” defender in front of the centre back duo, allowing Andrea Pirlo to play slightly forward on the pitch as some sort of deep-lying playmaker.
Prandelli’s Italy was, as it normally is, fairly effective and rigid on their game approach giving their opponent’s very little room to exploit.
Up in the front, the skilled Antonio Candreva lurked behind the usual suspect, Mario Balotelli, who showed that his finishing skills are still pretty accurate, as he offered Italy the winning goal early in the second-half.
Cesare Prandelli is not particularly known for implementing several changes in his team from match to match, thus it is not very plausible that he will implement many changes in the team for the match against Costa Rica.
No matter who the opponent is, Italy usually stand firm to their game style, something that, every so often, cost them a few setbacks, as for example against Luxembourg on a recent preparation match, where the Azzurri left the match with nothing better than a draw in their bags.
The Italian manager received some good news earlier this week regarding the physical condition of their experienced goalkeeper Gigi Buffon, who missed the first match due to injury. The eternal Juventus’ goalkeeper is now apparently fully recovered and he might return to the starting line-up next Friday.
As for Costa Rica, a win against Italy could offer them a place at the next stage of the competition, something that would be remarkable for the Central American team. After their fantastic performance against Uruguay last Saturday, Costa Rica will face the all-powerful Italy with renewed hopes.
The Costa Rican manager, the Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto, displayed his team in a hybrid 5-4-1 scheme against Uruguay and he would certainly maintain that conservative approach against Italy next Friday.
With just one man up in the front, the talented young forward Joel Campbell, Los Ticos caused severe troubles to an appatic Uruguayan defence line. Although Campbell put up a fantastic performance, one should also highlight the exceptional contribution from the Copenhagen midfielder Christian Bolãnos, who was the perfect link between the midfield and the forward lines during the match.
Italy (5-3-2) – Buffon – Darmian – Barzagli – Bonucci – Criscito – Pirlo – T. Motta – De Rossi – Marchisio – Candreva – Balotelli
Costa Rica (4-3-3) – Keylor Navas – Y. Tejeda – Giancarlo Gonzalez – Oscar Duarte – Michael Umana – Junior Diaz – M. Urena – Cubero – Joel Campbell – C. Borges – Bryan Ruiz
Italy vs Costa Rica Prediction
Italy have to be considered favourites for the next Friday’s match, but it will be interesting to see if Costa Rica’s win over Uruguay was a pure lucky shot or a display of talent, both from the players and their manager. This being said, the most likely outcome is an Italy win.
Italy 2 – 1 Costa Rica
Italy vs Costa Rica Television
The Italy vs Costa Rica match will be televised in the USA on ESPN3 (stream) and Univision Deportes at 9:00 AM Pacific.