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World Cup Preview, June 20

Claudio Villa

Here’s today’s preview/match thread/discussion post on Brazil 2014. Enjoy the matches!

12 noon ET:  Italy v Costa Rica, Group D.

Location: Recife.  Hot and humid.

Group situation: Italy 3, Costa Rica 3, Uruguay 3, England 0.  After yesterday's loss, England's only chance of progressing lies with Italy winning their next two matches, and England defeating Costa Rica handily in their last match.

Quick preview: The Ticos shocked Uruguay in their first match.  Do they have it in them to cause another upset?  Italy knocked off England and played quite well also.  Costa Rica will be happier with the conditions, but Italy clearly have the superior roster and should win this unless something stupid happens.  Mario Balotelli seems focused, though--he's tweeted he wants a kiss from the Queen (on the cheek) if Italy help out England by winning!

Prediction:  2-1 Italy. Leaving everyone still alive heading into the last match.

3 pm ET:  Switzerland v France, Group E.

Location: Salvador.  Hot and humid, quelle surprise.

Group situation: France 3, Switzerland 3, Ecuador 0, Honduras 0.

Quick preview: Switzerland's stoppage-time winner against Ecuador really made this group interesting, because it's clear Honduras are terrible, both in terms of discipline and tactics.  France really didn't have to do a lot in their first match, so this match should give some indication of where they are--but this is more a "must not lose" than a "must win" game

Prediction:  1-1.

6 pm ET:  Ecuador v Honduras, Group E.

Location: Curitiba, where it is cool (mid 50s) and cloudy!

Group situation: See above.. Losers’ bracket in this one – someone needs a win.

Quick preview: Ecuador let a point slip away in the first round; Jeff Montero was probably their best player, but his promising runs didn't unlock the Swiss defense.  Against Honduras, it should be different.  Ecuador has to beat up on Honduras since second in this group could come down to goal difference; they probably will win, but will go into the last round of group games needing another win and/or a miracle.

Prediction: Ecuador 3-1, and another red card for someone from Honduras.