July 3, 2014 by backofthenetjl
After their victory against the English in their first outing, Italy aim to add more points to their tally as they take on Costa Rica; still fresh from their impressive win over Uruguay. Inevitably, the winner of this match will take a huge stride towards qualification to the second phase of the tournament, so nobody is expecting Italy to rest on their laurels. Prandelli is well aware of the importance of this game, in fact Los Ticos’ shocking win over Uruguay in the first game should encourage Italy to be totally professional.
Perhaps Italy did not play to their true capabilities against England, but they were so comfortable on the ball and always looked a threat, especially with the invention and industry of Pirlo, Candreva, Marchisio and co. With the Azzuri’s win taken into account, there are no wholesale changes needed in all truth, yet a return to the side for Gigi Buffon in goal would be welcomed; even if Sirigu did pull off a few commendable saves. Mattia De Sciglio is the other player who missed the victory over England; it is still unclear as to whether he or skipper Buffon are fit to play. In addition, Andrea Barzagli is a doubt for the match, so that could mean Leonardo Bonucci slots in alongside Paletta, yet reverting the impressive Matteo Darmian to Left-back, moving Chiellini centrally and placing Abate at Right-back is something else Prandelli could consider.
In terms of tactics, Prandelli went with a 4-1-4-1 system against England, in which they overloaded the midfield and largely dominated possession in the match. Arguably the system worked sufficiently, but there is a possibility that Prandelli will tinker slightly; bringing in another attacking player like Immobile, Cassano or Insigne would seem feasible, after all Balotelli did seem relatively isolated in the first match. Prandelli is a coach who is tactically quite flexible, but even he may be reluctant to alter what has already proved to be a winning formula.
Evidently, there is a lot of quality in this Azzuri side; a nice blend of youth and experience in their ranks. Many have tipped them to have a successful tournament, but maximum points against Costa Rica is one of the first steps they must take to get to the knockout stages.
Predicted team: (4-2-3-1)
Sirigu, Darmian, Bonucci, Paletta, Chiellini, De Rossi, Pirlo, Candreva, Insigne, Marchisio, Balotelli.