Italy braced for testing clash

16 June 2014 04:02

Italy know they have to be sharp mentally and physically if they are going to avoid becoming the second team to be upset by Costa Rica at the World Cup.

Uruguay fell victim to the Central American nation in their opening Group D game and now the Italians will play Costa Rica on Friday at the hottest time of the day in Recife.

"You have to face them prepared to play to the death because everyone would have predicted a victory for Uruguay," Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi told the Italian media.

"I remember we played there (in Recife) last year in the Confederations Cup against Japan (Italy won 4-3 in the quarter-finals), and we suffered from the heat as well as Japan's speed.

"The game against Costa Rica is seen as the most dangerous game, because we play at 1pm local time and it will be really difficult."

Italy are level with Costa Rica on three points after opening their campaign with a 2-1 win over England on Saturday.

"Can we beat Costa Rica?" De Rossi said. "There is no longer a World Cup as it once was, like in Italia 90 when games ended 8-0.

"We find teams are organised, with strong players and you cannot afford to think that Italy will beat Costa Rica just because we are called Italy."

The heat and humidity are a major concern for the Azzurri, so much so that Italy's team doctor, Enrico Castellacci, wants FIFA to allow time-outs for players so they can drink water in their next two encounters, which both kick off at 1pm local time.

Players were not allowed drinks breaks during Saturday's game.

"It would have been good to have had a three-minute time-out during that game," Castellacci said. "Fortunately, we prepared well and none of our players had cramps.

"I hope that in Recife and Natal (the cities where Italy will play their next two games), where the conditions will be no better than in Manaus because of the times the games are scheduled for, FIFA will reconsider.

"The criteria is that if the temperature is 32 degrees Celsius or above then the time-out is almost automatic.

"However, what they don't consider is that with humidity above 70 to 80 per cent, it feels three or four degrees warmer.

"With those conditions and in these type of games, one can lose two litres of sweat."

Italy trained on Monday at their base camp in Mangaratiba without several players, including De Rossi.

De Rossi sat out the morning session with neck pain while defender Andrea Barzagli trained separately from the group with a minor muscular problem.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and AC Milan defender Mattia De Sciglio, who watched the game against England from the stands, were also absent with the former out with an ankle injury and the latter sidelined with a calf strain.

Source: PA