Friday June 20 2014
Motta, Abate, Buffon to come in

Thiago Motta, Ignazio Abate and Gianluigi Buffon are speculated as Italy’s three new faces to come in to face Costa Rica today.

The Azzurri have been anticipated all week from training as set to drop Gabriel Paletta from the heart of defence and also Marco Verratti from centre-midfield.

From the England game played last Saturday, Giorgio Chiellini is expected to move into central defence and be joined by Andrea Barzagli, who after training yesterday appears to have overcome fitness doubts.

Matteo Darmian will switch flanks to the left and allow Abate to come in at right-back, whilst it is Thiago Motta expected to replace his club colleague Verratti in the middle, alongside Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Pirlo.

The same attacking three that started against England of Claudio Marchisio, Antonio Candreva and Mario Balotelli are expected to again make the first XI for today’s 1pm local time kick-off in Recife.

Speculation is that goalkeeper and captain Buffon will be ready to take his place between the sticks, even as uncertainty still surrounded his exact condition during yesterday’s workout on the Arena Pernambuco pitch.

Prandelli has commented that Buffon and Barzagli's involvement today will depend on morning assessment to yesterday's training.

A win will not be enough to guarantee Italy’s progression to the knockout stages, as teams will be split on goal difference and even defeating Costa Rica could leave Jorge Luis Pinto’s side and Uruguay both capable of also reaching six points after the third matchday and finishing above Prandelli’s men.

Probable line-ups

Italy (4-1-4-1): Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Darmian; De Rossi; Candreva, Motta, Pirlo, Marchisio; Balotelli

Costa Rica (5-4-1): Navas; Gamboa, Duarte, Gonzalez, Umana, Diaz; Ruiz, Tejeda, Borjes, Bolanos; Campbell

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