De Rossi – CM – 60% Barzagli – CB – 60% Buffon – GK – 50% De Sciglio – LB – 20%
Expected Team (4-3-3)
Italy could still be without De Sciglio for this game as the full back is still yet to train following an injury picked up last week. Even if fit, they may just decide to be cautious with him along with Buffon. He appears more likely to return with medical staff anticipating that he will be ok for the match. However he is still recovering and there are no guarantees. They may decide not to risk him once again.
Neither De Rossi (neck) nor Barzagli (tendonitis) took part in training on Monday. Their participation is questionable at present. If they do not make it, then Motta will likely come in for De Rossi while Bonucci will replace Barzagli.
There are not expected to be too many tactical changes to the team if any. Verratti had some struggles defensively during the match and if Prandelli feels that is something that might be exposed here then there is a potential start for Thiago Motta who replaced Verratti during the last game.
Balotelli’s goal and overall performance should see him retain his place up front with that proving a contentious area based on form. Prandelli may have initially seen this game as an opportunity to possibly make a couple of changes and even play two up front but following Costa Rica’s win there isn’t likely to be any complacency.
Bench (from): Perin GK, Buffon GK, Abate RB, Bonucci CB, De Sciglio LB, Aquilani CM, Motta CM, Parolo CM, Cerci SS, Cassano ST, Immobile ST, Insigne ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Expected Team (5-4-1)
Costa Rica have a fully fit squad to choose from and following last week’s unexpected success over Uruguay they are expected to name the same starting eleven.
The team lined up in a 5-4-1 prioritising defensive solidity and that will be important in this game. Campbell will start up front on his own with Ruiz and Bolanos on either flank expected to provide support. The pair will drift in field at times, more so Ruiz and that will give the team opportunities to exploit some of the vulnerabilities in the Italy side between the lines.
Gamboa and Diaz will continue in the wing back areas who, due to the set-up of the midfield, can be classed more so as full backs as they will have protection in front of them. Gamboa will provide more offensive threats than Diaz whilst Navas will continue in goal.
The centre back trio is likely to consist of the same three that performed last week including goal scorer Duarte whilst there is a robust midfield pairing of Tejeda and Borges who will have massive responsibilities in this match in controlling the threats of not just the Italy central trio but the two wide players who like to move inside. The centre backs will need to show good awareness and knowledge of when to step out and cover.
Bench (from): Cambronero GK, Pemberton GK, Myrie RB/LB, Acosta CB, Miller CB, Francis LB, Barrantes DM, Cubero DM, Granados DM, Calvo LW, Brenes ST, Urena ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Group D – Game 2
Italy (9) v Costa Rica (19).
Both teams won their opening games to put themselves in a great position in Group D. Italy, in particular, will feel they can win here and, depending on the result between Uruguay and England, seal qualification to the next round a game early.
Conditions are likely to be hot and humid, which should suit Costa Rica, but the expected rain showers may produce a slick surface perfect for Pirlo to fire the ball around and dictate play for Italy.
Since 2012 Italy have played six matches against teams with a grading of 5-15 points below them (Costa Rica are 10 points below) and five of the matches have had at least three goals. Furthermore, they’ve conceded in 14 of their last 17 matches, including eight of their last nine. Italy have always tended to draw a lot of group matches at major championships and their last five second group games have all finished 1-1.
Costa Rica were impressive against Uruguay after conceding an early penalty but that was the 11th consecutive game they’ve conceded in. Since 1990 they’ve played six World Cup matches against European sides and have scored in every one, with both sides netting in the last six. Furthermore, 10 of their last 11 competitive matches against top-10 ranked sides have had at least three goals, although only two of these games were in the last three years.
Italy should be too good for Costa Rica but they have looked vulnerable defensively and Costa Rica look capable of at least scoring here.