Group D preview: Italy v Costa Rica

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has major concerns over the extreme humidity in Recife which could be dangerous to players.

    Andrea Pirlo showed against England that he is the best midfield controller currently in the game [GALLO/GETTY]
    Andrea Pirlo showed against England that he is the best midfield controller currently in the game [GALLO/GETTY]

    Shunning the flamboyance and individuality that has previously characterised their game, Costa Rica and their collection of nimble attacking talents face Italy, ready to produce another World Cup shock.

    In Joel Campbell spearheading their frontline they have a player capable of providing the cutting edge their smash-and-grab approach demands.

    Yet it remains to be seen whether they will be able to play in a similar vein against Italy, who will pose a different type of challenge.

    Champions in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006, Italy delivered a reminder of their qualities of organisation and patience in their 2-1 victory over England in the hot and steamy jungle conditions of Manaus.

    Andrea Pirlo showed against England that he remains the best midfield controller currently in the game and despite his advancing years, shrugged off the heat and humidity to dictate play against Roy Hodgson's young side.

    In Mario Balotelli they have a striker capable of capping largely anonymous performances with match-winning goals.

    Costa Rica's victory over Uruguay has also removed the element of surprise and put Italy on their guard against a similar upset.

    VenueArena Pernambuco, Recife

    Kick-off: June 20, 1600GMT

    Key stats: Italy’s 93 percent pass completion against England is the highest ever recorded in the World Cup since 1966.

    Costa Rica have never won two consecutive games at the World Cup, but the team has scored in all of their World Cup games against European teams.

    In the last round of qualifying in CONCACAF, Costa Rica conceded the least amount of goals of all the teams by only letting in seven goals in 10 matches.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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