Costa Rica Coach Jorge Luis Pinto revealed “Juventus inspired” his defensive set-up against Italy.
The Central Americans caused two huge upsets when beating Uruguay and the Azzurri, securing their spot in the World Cup Round of 16.
“Have you seen our system with three centre-backs Duarte, Gonzalez and Umana, then two wing-backs Gamboa and Diaz? It’s how Juventus play and how Italy played against Spain in the Confederations Cup. Juve inspired us.”
The Bianconeri also helped Pinto neutralise Mario Balotelli, who had said beforehand he didn’t know any of the Costa Rica players.
“He knows us very well now,” smiled the Coach. “We have a lot of respect for Balotelli and watched him play everywhere, at club and international level.
“We knew everything about him and did extraordinary work to keep him quiet. He can be a bit mad, but he’s a good player.”
The tiny nation, whose population is under 5m, was out in force on the streets last night to celebrate their World Cup qualification.
“It is only right that Costa Rica celebrate, because we are not going to stop. We can have the right emotional balance, make adjustments, sacrifice and take the decisive moment.
“I told my lads in the locker room to forget the memories of the past, break that barrier and change history. This is what we achieved.
“We deserved an eight out of 10 for our performance against Uruguay, but this time it was nine out of 10.”