Brazil 2014 World Cup | Italy vs. Costa Rica

As the first match of the day gets underway, I, as always, will be using BBC Sport to copy any quotes that are put up by football commentators into this feed, and will also combine my own thoughts into this feed so that there is a much better understanding of the match as it unfolds.

Italy 0-1 Costa Rica


Former Blackburn Striker Jason Roberts: “A lot of people were surprised with Costa Rica‘s performance against Uruguay. Uruguay were without Luis Suarez, but we are going to see what Costa Rica are made of. They are going to have a real big test on their hands.”

Tom Rostance: “Christian Bolanos has the first shot on goal for Costa Rica but it barely reaches the goal and is easy for Gigi Buffon to get behind and field.”

Robbie Savage: “I think the counter attack will be the best opportunity for Costa Rica with the pace of Joel Campbell. In midfield they will find it hard with Pirlo and Marchisio keeping the ball. But on the break they may have a chance.”

BBC Sport’s Ben Smith at the Arena Pernambuco: Italian journalists arm-in-arm for the anthems in Recife.

Italy v Costa Rica
Credit: BBC Sport ©

Tom Rostance: “Costa Rica having plenty of the ball in the early stages, they’ve got a fluid style in midfield. Oscar Duarte then hauls down Claudio Marchisio and is lucky not to be booked. Great chance! Gigi Buffon is nowhere at a corner, flapping in mid air, and Costa Rica should score! Celso Borges wins the header but can’t keep it down.”

Robbie Savage: “Bryan Ruiz is causing a few problems for Daniele De Rossi, dropping in between the lines. Costa Rica have started very, very brightly.”

Jason Roberts: “Coach Jorge Pinto’s set Costa Rica up in exactly the right way, they have a game plan and they are dictating to Italy at the moment. That will be a concern for Prandelli.”

Tom Rostance: “Mario Balotelli is being asked to do a lonely job for Italy – he’s only had two touches so far as he prowls the line up front on his own. Give him a chance and he’ll take it…”

Italian fans holds a 'Super Mario' shirt a loft
Credit: BBC Sport ©

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Stephen Cross: To show my support tonight I’m going to have some spaghetti Bolognese for tea, come on ITALY.

Andy G: Here we are hoping Italy can do us a favour but if you can’t win your first two games you don’t deserve to go through.

Tom Rostance: “Gigi Buffon is not having a good start. At all. The veteran Italian goalkeeper flaps at another corner and is not looking at all convincing. Costa Rica are bullying Italy here. They want this…”

Jason Roberts: “Tactically Costa Rica have been the better side. But what surprises me is Andrea Pirlo, he is going into almost every position at the moment, and Italy cannot seem to get any flow to their game.”

Daily Mail football correspondent Ian Ladyman Tweets from Recife: “Lots of empty seats here and no wonder. Three and a half hours from town centre to stadium. Rather shambolic I’m afraid.”

Ben Smith: “Costa Rica are once again showing they do not care for reputations. They are a fearless bunch and they way they have started this match in Recife shows that England’s hopes of staying in this tournament are slim. Italy have been on the back foot from the off and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon just looks a little rusty having missed Italy’s opener against England. Great noise inside Arena Pernambuco.”

Tom Rostance: “Mario Balotelli threatens to come to the party with a surging run right through the middle, but he is closed down. Seconds later the AC Milan man skins one man on the run but some brilliant defending from Giancarlo Gonzalez shuts him out.”

Giancarlo Gonzalez and Mario Balotelli
Credit: BBC Sport ©

Robbie Savage: “Italy are laboured in the play but you can still see they have real quality. Costa Rica are pushing up nicely from the back, on the front foot and are just unsettling Italy.”

Tom Rostance: “Andrea Pirlo is almost looking flustered. Almost. He then plays a good ball in from the left to find Mario Balotelli, he knocks it down and Thiago Motta drags a shot wide from 25 yards. Costa Rica look very comfortable on the ball, pinging it round very nicely. Joel Campbell lines up a shot from 20 yards but tries a blind pass when the shot was on. Mario Balotelli then gets nibbled by a tackle in the centre and is not happy. It was a clean tackle and Mario is warming up. He could erupt at any time…Mario! What a pass from Andrea Pirlo, absolutely brilliant to whip it around the corner and free Mario Balotelli. He’s in, he lifts it over Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas but he gets his trigonometry wrong and skews it wide. Big chance. Awesome pass. Mario Balotelli is up and running now. He is picked out by a flick-on from Thiago Motta, he’s marginally offside but is allowed to go on, before hammering in a first-timer which Keylor Navas gets behind. Goal on its way? It feels like it. Andrea Pirlo beats a man with another ‘over’ – just like he did against England before Costa Rica counter and Christian Bolanos tests Gigi Buffon with a low drive. Good game now in the scorching sun.”

Robbie Savage: “What a ball by Pirlo. He hasn’t even looked. Balotelli has no conviction. His first touch was a bit far away from him but he has to do better, the keeper comes rushing out, must score.”

Mario Balotelli
Credit: BBC Sport and Robbie Savage

Jason Roberts: “Andrea Pirlo is playing through-balls in from the left-back position, and looking to play incisive balls in behind this Costa Rica back five. I’m so impressed with his discipline, he wants to play in a certain position, but he will go where he needs to go to get the ball. He’s been at left-back, but then he’s gone up into the number 10 position.”

Italy's midfielder Andrea Pirlo and Costa Rica's forward Bryan Ruiz
Credit: BBC Sport and Jason Roberts

Tom Rostance: “Bryan Ruiz shoots from 40 yards and unsurprisingly doesn’t beat Gigi Buffon. Don’t shoot there!”

Gary Lineker: “I know we’re reliant on them, but that’s no excuse for Italy to play like us.”

Tom Rostance: “Chance! Costa Rica having another really good spell and Bryan Ruiz flicks in a deft cross from the right wing, Oscar Duarte beats his marker to the ball and heads it on to the roof of the net…Got to be a penalty! Joel Campbell is pushed over by Giorgio Chiellini, it looks a stonewall spot-kick but referee Enrique Osses waves him on! Shocker…”



BBC News sports correspondent Natalie Pirks: Wayne Rooney just left England hotel in a car, presumably to see family. He’s clearly seen enough of this Costa Rica game.

Clarence Seedorf (Former AC Milan and Netherlands Midfielder, Match of the Day): “I think Cassano is what we need, a little bit more creativity from the wings. I think he will play from the left. Costa Rica have a very clear strategy and won’t change too much of how they play.”

Tom Rostance: “Mario Balotelli wants a penalty from Oscar Duarte as he clears a corner but again the referee is unmoved. Costa Rica 45 minutes away from the knockout stages…”

Jason Roberts: “Mario Balotelli made a good run in behind the defence and he has served notice of what he’s going to do in the second half, and he should get more support now that Antonio Cassano is on.”

Tom Rostance: “Italy look a mess from corners as Gigi Buffon again gets under the delivery and Oscar Duarte heads wide at the far post. At the other end Antonio Cassano picks it up in space but his touch is poor and it runs away from him. The game starting to open up. Lovely hit! Matteo Darmian played well on the right against England, he’s at left-back today and cuts inside and smacks one from range which forces Keylor Navas into a flying save. Italy on the front foot but England will be out unless the Azzurri score twice. Andrea Pirlo hits another beaut of a free-kick, getting the ball to dip dramatically after it clears the wall and forcing Keylor Navas into more work. In his book Pirlo says he has mastered that technique of hitting the ball with ‘three of his toes. That’s precision for you…A second Italian sub sees Lorenzo Insigne come on. He is on for Antonio Candreva. Insigne was outstanding in the Under-21 tournament in Israel last summer. England got whacked over there by the way. The future is bright…Mario Balotelli is on the shoulder of the last man all the time but a team-mate can’t find him, Mario is ticking away to himself after another pass is cut out.”

Jason Roberts: “Antonio Cassano has that X Factor, he can take players on but he is in that number 10 role, and I’d like to see him further up, alongside Balotelli and running at the Costa Rica defence. This half is like night and day. Costa Rica are not closing down with intensity and inviting Italy on, and if Italy can do something they will because they now have more creative players on the pitch.”


Jason Roberts: “There’s a great ebb and flow to this game, there are great tactical decisions yet to be made. Where Costa Rica were not allowing Italy to build from the back, they are now and Italy have players like Pirlo and Balotelli who can hurt them. But I think that Costa Rica’s coach Jorge Pinto tactically has been absolutely incredible.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Johnny Magrinho: England have absolutely no chance of beating Costa Rica. Absolutely no chance.

Tim Arstall: If Costa Rica beat Italy today, they’ll have literally done what England couldn’t, very hard to make excuses if they do.

Robbie Savage: “You can see in their body language Costa Rica believe they should be here on this stage. They look confident, powerful, in contrast to the Italians who are running out of ideas and have become predictable. Balotelli is a frustrated figure and not happy. His performance has been poor and he should have scored in the first half. A yellow card – he’s pulled back the defender and the linesman spotted it.”

Jason Roberts: “There’s zero movement from Italy, no ambition, they have not approached this game like they can win this.”

Ben Smith: “The thousands of Costa Ricans inside Arena Pernambuco are really enjoying themselves. There have been plenty of cries of ‘ole, ole’ as the Central Americans have toyed with their more celebrated opponents at times here. Italy just haven’t got going at all. Mario Balotelli might have tweeted that he wanted a kiss with the Queen if Italy won here. But he’s not laughing now.”

Tom Rostance: “This is not an etching of spectators from the 13th Century – it’s Swiss Guards watching the game in the Vatican City…”

Swiss Guards watching the game in the Vatican City
Credit: BBC Sport

Robbie Savage: “For how great Pirlo is, he’s become predictable today. Ball into him, turns it around the corner – they’re predicting it. Aside from Balotelli’s chance in the first half, they have created absolutely nothing.”

Andrea Pirlo
Credit: BBC Sport

Tom Rostance: “Costa Rica five minutes away from a place in the last 16, which would equal their best effort at a World Cup. In 1990 they were beaten in the knockout stages by Czechoslovakia, after extra time.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Harry Hill: So we have been knocked out of the world cup after goals from Balotelli, Suarez and Ruiz, all had time in the Premier League.

Bully Turnbull: How does the song go agaın? Football’s going home.

Jason Roberts: “I’m so disappointed with Italy, I’d expected them to make real changes but there’s no urgency, no-one wants to get on the ball and they are playing straight up and down football.”

Tom Rostance: “England are going out of the World Cup in the group stage for the first time since 1958.”



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