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World Cup Day Nine: Italy v. Costa Rica

With three teams on three points, Group D's in need of some separation, and today's early kickoff between Italy and Costa Rica should provide just that.

Jamie McDonald

SB Nation's 2014 World Cup Preview'

Italy v. Costa Rica
Friday, June 20th | 5PM BST/12PM EST
Television Listings | Full Schedule

Group D

With Uruguay defeating England 2-1 on the strength of two Luis Suarez goals on Thursday night, Group D suddenly became very congested. Three teams now on three points, with England on the outside looking in, and today's match-up between Italy and Costa Rica should start to sort things a bit. Italy were controlled and confident against England in the opener, calmly exposing the weaknesses in Roy Hodgson's setup en route to a 2-1 victory that never really felt that close. They'll now be expected to go on and win the group, though their task is anything but straightforward against a resolute Costa Rica side.

We knew Uruguay had been struggling over the course of the past few years, but few expected them to fall apart completely in a 3-1 loss against Costa Rica. Jorge Luis Pinto's side went down a goal on Edinson Cavani's penalty, but an inspired display by goalkeeper Keylor Navas and three second half goals secured all three points. Today should prove a far more difficult task, as the Italians will surely be more organized than a porous Uruguay midfield and defense, and another three points for Costa Rica here would be one of the tournament's biggest surprises.

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