Italy vs Costa Rica team sheet

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Italy v Costa Rica
Group D
Arena Pernambuco, Recife
5pm kick-off

England will be hoping for a huge favour from Italy as they play their second Group D game of the World Cup against Costa Rica in Recife this evening.

The Three Lions slipped to a disappointing 2-1 defeat against Uruguay last evening in Sao Paulo, leaving them point-less after two games. Now their only hope of making it into the knockout stages is if Italy beat their Central American opponents and do the same against Uruguay in their final fixture, leaving Roy Hodgson's men the task of beating Costa Rica on Tuesday.

- England's World Cup dream can be rescued by Pirlo & co.
- Italy v England: Player ratings
- England on the brink after Uruguay defeat

That won't enter the thoughts of Cesare Prandelli's men however - their primary concern is booking their own spot in the last 16. They can all but guarantee that with a win at the Arena Pernambuco - but they will have to be mindful of their opponents, who have already sprung one of the surprises of the tournament.

Costa Rica battled back from going 1-0 down against Uruguay in their opener to claim a stunning 3-1 victory, and is it stands they are top of a group which contains three previous World Cup winners, all of whom in the top 10 of FIFA's world rankings.

Key duo return

Italy welcome back key duo Gianluigi Buffon and Mattia De Sciglio, who both sat out of the 2-1 win over England in Manaus on Saturday. Both are back in training and Prandelli has restored Buffon back to his starting line-up, with De Sciglio sitting this one out.

Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi are carrying minor knocks but are both fine to participate. Marco Veratti has been replaced by Thiago Motta in midfield. Abate returns, meaning Giorgio Chiellini can return to his natural central position. 

Starting line-ups


Buffon (c), Chiellini, Darmian, Motta, Candreva, Abate, Marchisio, Balotelli, Barzagli, De Rossi, Pirlo

Costa Rica:

Navas, Gonzalez, Umana, Borges, Duarte, Bolanos, Campbell, Ruiz (c), Diaz, Gamboa, Tejeda


These two teams have never met in a competitive fixture before - but played each other in a friendly in 1994, which Italy won 1-0. 

The Azzurri came into this year's tournament with a poor record of one win in eight games, but looked sharp against England and will be confident of getting all three points. Key to their hopes of doing just that will be their ball retention.

Temperatures in Recife for the lunchtime kick-off are expected to top 30c. Given that midfielder Daniele de Rossi admitted that he and his team-mates were "dying" the last time they played in the city - during an evening kick-off in the Confederations Cup against Japan last year - then the team who can keep the ball the best will likely have a greater chance of emerging victorious.

FIFA may move to permit water breaks during the game but only tend to do so if the temperature tops 32c - something Prandelli is keen on seeing introduced in order to bolster his side's chances of winning.

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World Cup
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