With England team looking in tatters, 2006 champions Italy will look to seize the initiative of Group D as they take on ‘˜giant-killers’ Costa Rica on Friday.
LightlyWith England team looking in tatters, 2006 champions Italy will look to seize the initiative of Group D as they take on ‘giant-killers’ Costa Rica on Friday. If the Azzuri win against Costa Rica, it might come as relieve for the Three Lions who are looking to stay in the tourney via mathematically.
Having made a blistering start to what is only their fourth World Cup campaign with a shock 3-1 win over Uruguay, the Costa Rica would be forgiven for keeping the pace high from kick-off as they go in search of another upset. On the other hand Italy, who crashed out at the group stage in 2010, launched their bid for a record-equalling fifth title with a crucial 2-1 win over England in Manaus last week in their Group D opener.
A second win for Italy would provide a huge boost ahead of their final group clash against Uruguay, but coach Cesare Prandelli faces selection dilemmas. Defender Matteo De Sciglio, who normally plays at right-back, is not expected to recover in time from a thigh knock, while Andrea Barzagli and central defensive partner Gabriel Paletta, who failed to convince against England, could both start on the bench.
Centre-half Giorgio Chiellini was tested by the pace of England’s Raheem Sterling, so Prandelli must now decide how to reshuffle for a Costa Rican side that did plenty of damage down the right against Uruguay thanks to the pace of Bryan Ruiz.
Andrea Pirlo still remains Italy’s orchestrator in midfield while Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who scored Italy’s opener in Manaus, is expected to retain his place just behind lone striker Mario Balotelli. Doubts also remain on goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who was sidelined for the England match due to an ankle injury.
Though Costa Rica may not possess the ‘superstars’ like their opponents, but keep an eye out for Arsenal rising star, Joel Campbell. The young forward was man of the match in their win against Uruguay and could again rise to the occasion, if given a start.