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World Cup Finals 2014

Match of the Day Live: Italy v Costa Rica

Match of the Day Live: Italy v Costa Rica

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COME ON, ITALY! It's simple for England fans: only an Italian victory will do. If the Azzurri can do them a favour and beat Costa Rica, England will then need to beat Costa Rica themselves on Tuesday and hope to sneak past their opponents on goal difference. Specifically, Costa Rica need to lose one of the two games by two goals, so let's hope they get that out of the way here.

Two problems. The first is that Costa Rica were vastly, vastly better than expected in their first game against Uruguay. Yes, the Uruguayans were awful - no Luis Suarez and no idea how to play without him - but Costa Rica fully deserved to collect three points based on their own performance. The counter-attacks focused on Arsenal striker Joel Campbell (he was on loan at Olympiakos last season and has never actually turned out for the Gunners) looked deadly: his inch-perfect pass to substitute Marco Ureña set up one of the goals of the tournament.

Second, this game takes place at lunchtime in Recife, the third most northerly venue. The forecast is 28C with 70% humidity, conditions that will favour the Costa Ricans. Italy struggled terribly last year in Recife during the Confederations Cup, squeezing past Japan 4-3 in a cooler evening match. Says Daniele de Rossi: "We were dying." Oh, brilliant.

The key man could conceivably be lining up alongside Joel Campbell at the Emirates next season: Mario Balotelli, on form, will be too much even for the dogged five-man Costa Rican defence. "If we beat Costa Rica," Super Mario tweeted this morning, "I want a kiss, obviously on the cheek, from the UK Queen." Maybe not, but boy would England fans be grateful.


Italy v Costa Rica (Kick-off 5.00pm). All the action from the second World Cup Group D encounter for both nations, which comes from the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil. Italy impressed in their opening match against England, with Andrea Pirlo inspiring the Azzurri to a 2-1 win, although Costa Rica caused one of the surprises of the tournament so far by beating Uruguay 3-1. Italy will enter the contest as favourites given their greater pedigree and wealth of experience within their squad, including players who have won this tournament in 2006 and got to the final of Euro 2012, and England will be looking on with interest, as only an Italian win will keep Roy Hodgson's men in the tournament. Presented by Gary Lineker, with commentary by Steve Bower and Robbie Savage.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Gary Lineker
Commentator Steve Bower
Commentator Robbie Savage
Editor Richard Hughes
Producer Ian Finch


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