Costa Rica performance an 'alarm bell' for Italy

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 18, 2014 at 7:32 am •  Published: June 18, 2014
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MANGARATIBA, Brazil (AP) — Costa Rica's 3-1 impressive win over Uruguay was one of the biggest surprises in the opening matches of the World Cup.

It certainly got Italy's attention.

"That alarm bell could be an advantage for us," Azzurri midfielder Daniele De Rossi said. "It should help us enter prepared like we did against England. If they had lost 3-0 or 4-0 to Uruguay maybe we wouldn't. But now I'm sure that won't happen."

Coming off an impressive 2-1 win over England, Italy faces Costa Rica on Friday at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife.

Costa Rica entered the World Cup ranked 28th and was expected to be the doormat squad in Group D alongside three former champions that have accounted for seven titles between them — four for Italy (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006), two for Uruguay (1930, 1950) and one for England (1966).

"It's a squad that surprised everyone," De Rossi added. "Nobody expected them to beat a big team like Uruguay so handily."

Costa Rica and Italy each have three points but the central American side tops the group on goal differential. A win for either Italy or Costa Rica would just about assure a spot in the next round.

Italy will be wary of Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell, the 21-year-old who scored one goal and set up another against Uruguay.

"I faced Campbell with Olympiakos in the Champions League and he already impressed me then," Italy goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu said.

While Sirigu performed admirably against England, he could return to the bench with captain Gianluigi Buffon working his way back from left ankle and knee injuries.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will also probably make a change in defense, with Giorgio Chiellini moving over from left back to take over for Gabriel Peletta in the center and Ignazio Abate coming on at fullback. In midfield, Brazilian-born Thiago Motta could replace De Rossi, who had neck pain after the England game.