Friday, 20 June 2014

Brazil WC 2014 - Italy vs Costa Rica, LIVE COMMENTARY:

Hello again everyone, and welcome to my latest blog post - another LIVE Commentary from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. This is the second group stage match in Group D, with Italy playing against Costa Rica in the battle for first place. 

Both teams won their respective opening matches this time last week; Italy beat England 2-1 while Costa Rica came from behind to shock Uruguay with a 3-1 result. 

IF Italy fail to win today, England will be eliminated from the competition. They lost their first two group stage matches.

Here are the team line-ups for today's match - 

Italy: Buffon, Darmian, Barzagli, Chiellini, Abate, Thiago Motta, De Rossi, Candreva, Pirlo, Marchisio and Balotelli.

Subs: Sirigu, Perin, De Sciglio, Cassano, Cerci, Aquilani, Immobile, Parolo, Bonucci, Paletta, Insigne and Verratti.

Costa Rica: Navas, Gamboa, Umana, Duarte, Diaz, Gonzalez, Ruiz, Borges, Tejeda, Bolanos and Campbell.

Subs: Pemberton, Acosta, Myrie, Barrantes, Francis, Granados, Brenes, Miller, Calvo, Urena, Cubero and Cambronero.

Referee: Enrique Osses (from Chile)

16:50 - 10 minutes to kick-off, the teams are walking down the tunnel and are getting ready for the start of the game.

16:55 - National anthems time. Italy first. Expectation for them to win today, not just from their own support but from the support of many - not least England who need their rivals to win to stand any chance of still being able to qualify for the knock-out rounds.

16:58 - Costa Rica's anthem completed, as the two teams pose for pictures and await the referee's whistle.

17:00 - The referee blows his whistle to start the game, and it begins. Italy will be the favourites to win this, but Costa Rica provided a shock in their first match with a 3-1 win over Uruguay.

3: Costa Rica have started well in the early stages, eager to keep the ball and are pressurizing Italy as soon as they win the ball. 

5: First clear foul of the match, and it arguably should be a yellow card for the Costa Ricans. Oscar Duarte with a late sliding challenge through Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who falls to the turf and the Italians lose their momentum.

7: A dangerous set-piece (corner) by Costa Rica almost results in the opening goal of the match. 

Buffon comes out of his goal, rushing towards the ball and jumping high but missing it completely. Celso Borges with a lunging header from close range, the effort rising over the crossbar and into the crowd. Close. 

10: England will be hoping for a big favour from the Italians today, as it stands the Three Lions are out of the competition. 

11: Below is a link to the LIVE Commentary from last night's enthralling match -

17: Continued spell of pressure by Costa Rica, still 0-0 but they are pressing towards Buffon's goal.

19: Painful blow suffered by Chiellini as an attempted cross into the box is blocked by the head of the Juventus defender. He eventually gets up to his feet, clutching his head. 

23: Possession stats in Costa Rica's favour at the moment, they have done well to shut out Balotelli & Co in the early stages so far. 0-0 as it stands.

24: Costa Rica are currently in 1st place on goal-difference, Italy in 2nd and Uruguay a point behind both teams in 3rd. Meanwhile England, let's just not talk about them. 

29: Tejeda with a strong clean tackle on Balotelli, the Milan striker goes down after the challenge and the ball goes out of play as the physio are able to come on.

33: CHANCE! Mario Balotelli with a half-chance, a volley on the edge of the area is parried away by goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Balotelli could have broken the deadlock there.

34: Accidental clash between De Rossi and Diaz, clash of legs from the pair and an Italian free-kick to come.

37: Costa Rica have been lively in the first-half so far, would not be surprised if they scored first. Italy picking their moments to get forward, always a danger though.

38: An ambitious effort from Bryan Ruiz bobbles off the turf and falls into the path of Buffon, who comfortably holds onto the ball. Still 0-0.

43: Some controversy inside the area, pacy striker Joel Campbell is brought down inside the box on the counter attack but the referee gestures to the Arsenal man that he should get up. Clear contact there, should have been a penalty.

44: GOAL! Costa Rica ahead, and it's been coming! An inviting ball into the area by Diaz from the flank flies towards the far post, where Fulham midfielder Bryan Ruiz darts forward unmarked to head the delivery past Buffon, bouncing off the crossbar before going on! 
Out of the blue: Ruiz's accurate header at the far post beat Buffon into the net
Another shock on the cards? Ruiz celebrates his goal, to put Costa Rica ahead before half-time
45: What a ball by Diaz, and Costa Rica are ahead on the stroke of half-time. Buffon should have done better with the effort, but it was beyond him and hit the crossbar before bouncing past the line. 

45+1: Italy in shock, they have not turned up so far today.

45+2: The referee blows the whistle to signal the end of the first-half, where Italy are trailing 1-0 to the underdogs Costa Rica.

45 minutes for Italy to get back into the match, they have not played well as of yet and need to response positively to them trailing.

18:00 - Second-half begins. 1-0 to Costa Rica. 

45: Italy SUB - 
Thiago Motta OFF
Antonio Cassano ON

46: An attacking substitution made by Prandelli; Motta is a more defensive-minded player and is being replaced by Parma striker Cassano, expected to play just behind Balotelli in attack.

50: The game is gradually opening up, Italy looking dangerous again on the attack. Positive start to the second-half for the Italians.

Cassano gets into a good shooting position before he is blocked by an approaching defender, before young right-back Darmian has an ambitious effort from 20 yards out - parried by the fingertips of goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

54: Italy preparing a substitute to come on in the next few minutes, Napoli young midfielder Lorenzo Insigne is warming up.

56: Balotelli reacts badly to an offside call from the linesman, gesturing at his disbelief from the decision - but it was the correct decision nonetheless.

57: Italy SUB -
Antonio Candreva OFF
Lorenzo Insigne ON

58: Another attacking change, Insigne replacing Candreva who has not seen a lot of the ball today and has been ineffective.

62: Costa Rica supporters are enjoying themselves in the sunshine today, Italians aren't exactly in the same mood.

30 minutes or so to equalise, and it's been an improvement on the first-half but not enough so far.

64: FACT - Mario Balotelli has now surpassed Robin van Persie, as the player with the most offsides at the World Cup this year. Frustrating.

67: Costa Rica SUB - 
Yeltsin Tejeda OFF
Jose Cubero ON

68: First yellow card of the game is awarded to Balotelli; after he pulls back Duarte inside the box on purpose. He's clearly annoyed at the lack of service that he's had today, you can see it.

69: Italy SUB - 
Claudio Marchisio OFF
Alessio Cerci ON

71: Another yellow card, this time from Costa Rica; Cubero is booked for purposely blocking Italy from taking a quick free-kick.

73: Costa Rica SUB -
Joel Campbell OFF 
Marcos Urena ON

74: Campbell has looked bright in certain areas today for Costa Rica, his pace is frightening and he has done well to get past the likes of centre-back pairing Chiellini and Barzagli. Should have had a penalty aswell.

80: Costa Rica SUB - 
Bryan Ruiz OFF
Randall Brenes ON

81: A half-chance goes begging for Italy, a long through ball falls towards the path of Insigne; he controls the ball well but his technique is wrong as the young Napoli forward falls backwards and lashes at the ball, the effort flies over the bar.

85: Five minutes to play, and Italy are surely out of this one now. 

90: The fourth official has signalled for 4 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the match. 

90+1: A half-chance almost makes it 2-0 to Costa Rica! Brenes with a curling long-range effort, which makes Buffon scramble to his left and dive hoping that the shot did not go in. Just past the crossbar on the way out.

90+2: Two minutes left, Italy clutching at straws.

90+3: Costa Rica preparing to celebrate... against all odds, to beat both Italy and Uruguay - what an achievement. 


Costa Rica are through to the Last 16! Italy with a lacklustre performance, beaten thanks to a slender 1-0 victory despite having their fair share of possession - not taking their chances and being consequently punished.

Qualfied teams for the Last 16 - Colombia, Chile, Netherlands and Costa Rica.

England join Spain, Cameroon and Australia as the teams to have already been knocked out of the World Cup as a result of Italy's defeat today. 

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