Know that their World Cup fate lies in the hands of their conquerors Italy, England will have been pleased to see first-choice goalkeeper and Italian captain Gianluigi Buffon return to the starting line-up in their Group D encounter against Costa Rica.
Buffon missed the 2-1 victory over England after he twisted his left knee and ankle, but he has recovered in time to face the Costa Ricans in a top-of-the-group clash. Cesare Prandelli has recalled Buffon in place of Salvatore Sirigu, while he makes one other change as Thiago Motta comes in for Marco Verratti in midfield.
Arsenal forward Joel Campbell starts once again for Costa Rica who are looking to follow up their shock victory over Uruguay last week with victory over Italy that would send them clear at the top of the group.
Having spent the season on loan with Olympiakos, Campbell starred in the 3-1 victory over a Uruguay side that was missing talisman Luis Suarez. The 21-year-old partners former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz in attack.
Italy: Group D team profile
Italy: Group D team profile
1/5 How they qualified
Italy were solid for most of their qualifying campaign, finishing six points clear at the top of Group B after six wins, four draws and no losses. Striker Mario Balotelli led the scoring charts with five of Italy’s 19 goals while the usually solid Azzurri defence conceded nine. Their decline in form towards the end – two draws against Denmark and Bulgaria – has continued into their six friendlies since, from which they have only picked up one win.
2/5 Manager: Cesare Prandelli
Cesare Prandelli took over as Italy manager after the disastrous 2010 World Cup – two years later, he had taken them to the final of the European Championships, only to lose out to the all-conquering Spain. Prandelli has gone against the traditional Italian counter-attacking style and instead prefers his team to take the game to their opponents. In the run up to this World Cup, the 56-year-old has chopped and changed his starting 11 – both in terms of formation and personnel – possibly to conceal his tactical plan for the tournament. Equally plausible is that he’s still not sure of his strongest side. Either way, Prandelli is confident and has said he is aiming for the final.
3/5 Star Player: Andrea Pirlo
You need only hear Andrea Pirlo’s nicknames in Italy – l'architetto (“the architect”), il metronomo (“the metronome”) il professore ("the professor") – to understand what type of player he is. The 35-year-old moves the ball around with pinpoint precision, keeps his team ticking over without ever missing a beat himself and does it all with a genius seen rarely on the pitch. Pirlo dictated the game when England and Italy met at the European Championships two years ago and could easily do so again unless Roy Hodgson devises a plan to stop him.
4/5 Emerging talent: Ciro Immobile
Ciro Immobile top-scored in Serie A for Torino last season, a feat which earned the 24-year-old a £16 million move to Borussia Dortmund in early June. The striker scored a hat-trick against Fluminense in Italy’s final World Cup warm-up match, leading to calls for him to start against England. If Prandelli opts for two up-front, Immobile is in with an excellent chance; should he go for one, however, then it will come as a shock to see him start ahead of Mario Balotelli.
5/5 How they line up (4-1-3-1-1)
Buffon; De Sciglio, Chiellini, Bonucci, Abate; De Rossi; Verratti, Pirlo, Marchisio; Candreva; Balotelli
England know that anything but an Italian win will eliminate them from this year’s competition, and they face Costa Rica on Tuesday in what could very well be their final World Cup game in Brazil.
Italy: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Darmian; De Rossi, Pirlo, Motta; Candreva, Marchisio; Balotelli.
Subs: Sciglio, Cassano, Cerci, Sirigu, Perin, Aquilani, Immobile, Parolo, Bonucci, Paletta, Insigne, Verratti
Costa Rica: Navas; Umana, Duarte, Gonzalez, Gamboa, Diaz; Borges, Bolanos, Tejeda; Ruiz; Campbell
Subs: Acosta, Myrie, Barrantes, Francis, Granados, Brenes, Pemberton, Miller, Calvo, Urena, Cubero, Cambronero
Referee: Enrique Osses(Chile)Reuse content