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Italy expected to take care of Costa Rica Friday
By: Zach Cohen - StatFox
Published: 6/20/2014  at  4:01:00 AM
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Kickoff: Friday, 12:00 p.m. EDT
Arena Pernambuco – Recife, Brazil

Italy -232, Costa Rica +550, Tie +375
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over -114, Under -114)

Two teams who picked up big wins in their opening games will meet Friday when Italy takes on Costa Rica.

Italy had a very tough challenge playing against a very talented England team, but they proved that they were up for the task and showed that they are capable of beating anybody when they are on their game.

The matchup between Italy and England was very even throughout the entire contest with Italy coming away with a slight edge in time of possession at 52%. They were, however, outshot on goal 8-5 by England. Italy struck first in the game with Claudio Marchisio finding the back of the net at the game’s 35-minute mark. England, however, would tie it up just two minutes later when Daniel Sturridge scored at the 37-minute mark. Luckily for Italy, big players come through in big games and that is just what Mario Balotelli did when he put home what would be the game-winning goal at the 50-minute mark. Italy didn’t get as many chances as England, but they made them count, and they can now really make their mark in the group with a win on Friday.

Costa Rica wasn’t given much of a chance to make it to the knockout round, but a win in their first game really put them in position to do so. A win over Italy would be monumental for this team.

Costa Rica faced a heavily favored Uruguay team in their opening match of group play and found themselves facing a 1-0 deficit after Edinson Cavani took advantage of a penalty at the game’s 24-minute mark. Uruguay won the battle in time of possession with 54% and shots on goal with five, compared to Costa Rica’s four, but capitalizing on those opportunities is all that matters. When the second half begun, Costa Rica flipped a switch and scored three unanswered goals. Joel Campbell tied the game up 54 minutes in, and then Oscar Duarte gave them a 2-1 lead just three minutes later. At the 84-minute mark, Marco Urena scored the put-away goal to make it 3-1. This team may not be capable of winning the tournament but they are surely threatening to scramble things up in Group D.

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