Brazil World Cup 2014 Schedle: Group D Fixtures, Italy vs. Costa Rica 0-1, C. Americans Sweep 4-Time WCF Champs, England Will Go Home

Italy v Costa Rica, World Cup 2014: Score, News Updates, Group D game at Arena Pernambuco, Recife, on Friday June 19 2014, 17.00 (BST):

Italy 0 – 1 Costa Rica

Goal for Costa Rica by B. Ruiz/44

That’s the ­­­­final score with Costa Rica causing an upset against the Italians, who have won the tournament four times in 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006. Italy also reached the finals in the tournament in 1970, 1994, making Costa Rica’s win a historic triumph over the European favorites, known for tough defensive tactics and lead strikers like Paolo Rossi and Roberto Baggio.

This showing will mean a swift departure for England. One article on England said, “The fate of the Three Lions depending on how others play …This could have been avoided by an English side with enough guts.” Most commentators marveled at Costa Rica’s ability to play confident, attacking football. Costa Rica are in the round of 16! An impressive feat, while Hodgson’s England are out. Italy and Uruguay play for the top spot in the group. Italy will resemble England’s position, since they wait on fate to determine if they go through to the next stage. 

For the time being, Italy’s loss has been a blow to England, according to  Robbie Savage. More importantly England have disappointed England’s fans. Costa Rica will go through to the last 16 round – very impressive stuff from Bryan Ruiz’s goal just ahead of half time. 

Italy (Possible, 4-5-1): Buffon; Chiellini, Barzagli, Paletta, Darmian; De Rossi, Verratti, Pirlo, Marchisio, Candreva; Balotelli.

Costa Rica (Possible, 4-4-1-1): Navas; Gonzalez, Umana, Duarte, Gamboa; Bolanos, Diaz, Tejeda, Borges; Ruiz; Campbell.

Referee: Enrique Osses (Chile)

At start of play, the Costa Ricans are playing ‘catch the ball if you can’ with Italy, keeping the ball in possession for a minute. 

Half time

The Ruiz goal is well deserved in what appears to be a very tactical position taken by the South Americans. They pushed forward collectively leaving Italian players behind, and a cross from Diaz finds Ruiz for a header.

AFP reported, “GOAL!! Costa Rica (Bryan Ruiz). Seconds after that penalty appeal was ignored by the referee, Diaz hits a wonderfully arcing cross from the left to the far post and Ruiz meets it on his hea, hits the underside of the crossbar, bounces over the line as Ruiz wheels away in celebration.”

After the goal, commentators are to quick to add that everyone can relax now that England is out of the ‘Brazil Games.’ “No need to be shredded by nerves. With the fear of defeat gone, we can savor this wonderful tournament.

Looking at Italy’s star strikers, Robert Baggio was the man to fear in World Cup 1994. And today, Andrea Pirlo is the feared striker.  Jorge Pinto, the Costa Rica manager, noted, “It is true I worry about [Andrea] Pirlo. I have been studying him since 2006, because in my opinion he has been the best player since then. We have to block him because he is the player who thinks best in Italy.”England fans are expecting Mario Balotelli, the Premier League striker to bail them out with a win over Costa Rica. 

When Costa Rica won 3-1 against Uruguay in their Brazil World Cup 2014 opener, the Italians focused heavily on the Central Americans. Italy’s coach Cesare Prandelli said at a press conference, “For months we’ve known about the calendar,” adding, “We have followed with particular interest this team.

“They are very well organised and know their style by heart and their own system of play. It’s a team to fear a lot and for us it’s going to be a rather difficult game,” Parandelli told AFP.

If Italy are going to have success again after their 2-1 victory over England in their opener, they will have pay close attention to the attacking play of their opponents.Jorge Luis Pinto’s team tore Uruguay apart in the second half.

Costa Rica’s three forwards wreaked havoc on the Italian defense, typically said to be as effective as a brick wall.

Balotelli, Italy’s star player in the Brazil World Cup 2014 shared, “Costa Rica are a very good side and we must respect them, trying to give 200 per cent on the pitch.

Unfortunately, Balotelli was not able to produce much against the Central Americans; Costa Rica was flexible in midfield and defensive play, making them very effective in their attacking style. This may be one reason why Balotelli was well marked and had little chance of equalizing.

“I’m calm, I have no pressure. I want to go as far as possible in this World Cup and score as many goals as possible but the important thing is that Italy wins and progresses,” Balotelli told reporters ahead of the game.

Meanwhile Costa Rica coach Pinto, “This is a dream come true for me because I have watched them play in at least 30 World Cup games,” he said. “I’ve always said that I love how Italy play, their tactical structure, their style…”I know I will benefit from having watched them for so long.”

And it looks like Coach Pinto was right. His insight into Italy’s game plan payed off with a surprise Costa Rican win.

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