Italy and Costa Rica are set to clash for Group D supremacy at Noon ET, but how much of a chance the CONCACAF nation stands of upsetting one of the world’s all-time powers is being discussed around the world.
Jose Mourinho says another Costa Rican upset is not on the cards, much to the consternation of admiring CRC coach Jorge Luis Pinto.
Italy — Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Darmian; De Rossi; Candreva, Pirlo, Thiago Motta, Marchisio; Balotelli
Costa Rica — Navas, Gonzalez, Omana, Burgas, Duarte, Bolanos, Ruiz Diaz, Gamboa, Tejada, Campbell
1. How will the weather affect Italy? Head coach Cesar Prandelli called the Manaus conditions “ridiculous” in Italia’s 2-1 win over England, but says it won’t be an excuse. Costa Rican midfielder Christian Bolanos:
“We have a lot of respect for them (Italy)… but we’ll hope to benefit from the heavy climate. We are used to playing in those kinds of temperatures.”
2. Can Costa Rica spring upset No. 2? The most simple of talking points seems to be the No. 1 thing daunting Los Ticos. Can Costa Rica really knock off Uruguay and Italy in consecutive matches? Stranger things have happened.
Expectation: Prolonged feeling-out periods.
One blogger’s prediction: Italy scores early, then stacks the gondolas en route to a 1-0 win.