To be played on Friday 20th June 2014 at 17:00. Venue: Arena Pernambuco, Recife.
Odds: Italy 8/15, Draw 3/1, Costa Rica 5/1
Preview & injury news
After seeing what Italy are capable of when they beat England 2-1, Costa Rica will need to make sure they are well prepared. Having said that, Costa Rica’s impressive performance and comeback against Uruguay in their emphatic 3-1 win will unsettle Italy.
Italy achieved a world record for their passing accuracy in the final third against England, which was a little over 93%. With thanks to Pirlo, Candreva and Balotteli, Italy looked like a menacing force going forward. Couple this with the fact that England had 91% passing accuracy, it shows that Italy can be just as useful at defending as attacking.
Costa Rica will look to play the brave game again. They showed no respect to Uruguay and as the game went on the Costa Ricans confidence grew too. If they want a similar result out of this game they will have to show the same mentality and hope Joel Campbell plays just as well again. If Costa Rica do go on and get something out of this game, they could put themselves right in the mix as surprise qualifiers of the group.
The favourites though still do remain Italy and should have enough quality through Pirlo and Balotelli to see off Costa Rica.
Gianluigi Buffon still remains an injury doubt, there are however no fresh injury concerns for Costa Rica.
If Gianluigi Buffon starts he will increase his own record of Italy’s most capped player to 140.
Umana is Costa Rica’s most capped player within the the team, he has 84 caps under his belt.
Costa Rica have never won two consecutive games at a World Cup, but have scored in every game against a European opposition.
5 players to watch
Mario Balotelli - Showed what a threat he is against England not just in the air with his goal, but his general play on the floor helped Italy flow.
Joel Campbell - Absolutely key to Costa Rica’s chances, played an excellent game against Uruguay and will remain a constant threat.
Andrea Pirlo - Seems like he can have five players round him and still find a pass. If Costa Rica want anything out of this game they will need to deploy some clever tactics to somehow play him out of the game.
Oscar Duarte - The Costa Rican defender played a brilliant game against Uruguay, he helped shut out an impressive attack and showed he’s capable of scoring a goal.
Antonio Candreva - Had a brilliant game against England and caused all sorts of trouble, paired with Balotelli in attack and feeding of Pirlo passes could result in lots of goals.
Last time they met
Italy 1-0 Costa Rica, 1994, June