Italy (1-0) vs. Costa Rica (1-0)
|Date & Time||Friday June 20, 2014, 12:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Italy -210
Costa Rica and Italy will do battle Friday afternoon on ESPN, in a match that will send the winner onto the next round of the World Cup.
Italy survived its first test of the tournament by managing to escape with a 2-1 victory over England in its opening round. Italy survived many close shots by Wayne Rooney, but of course that is a moot point at this point in the stage. The good thing for the Italians is that Mario Balotelli found his groove, as he scored the game winner and had many clean looks throughout the match. If the Milan star can keep being aggressive and keep a cool head, Italy has a chance to fulfill expectations in this tournament. Italy is also expected to get a boost with the possible returns of Gianluigi Buffon, Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Barzagli, who have resumed training.
Costa Rica surprised Uruguay and the rest of the soccer world with a 3-1 win in its opening round. What makes Costa Rica’s win even more shocking is that it trailed 1-0 early in the match only to come back and score three unanswered goals. Joel Campbell, Óscar Duarte and Marco Ureña all chipped in on the goal scoring and will need to continue their aggressive play if Costa Rica is to have any shot in advancing. Campbell, especially, has a chance to really blossom into one of the starts in this year’s tournament. Costa Rica shouldn’t be taken lately after what they just did a few days ago.
I’m a little concerned with Costa Rica’s win, as it has letdown written all over it. Nobody expected them to have three points at this stage, and now some folks are actually paying attention. This is a spot where Costa Rica may simple be way over its head.
While there’s little value in taking Italy to win, I’ll go head and take the over, as Italy has the playmakers who can really give Costa Rica fits on the backend.