MATCHDAY PREVIEW – Top billing on day three at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ goes to the much-anticipated meeting between England and Italy. A classic match-up down the years, games between the two nations have rarely disappointed and, with both fielding new-look sides, the intrigue is sure to be greater than usual.
Saturday’s encounter will be the sides’ 25th in total, with Italy holding a slight historical edge thanks to their record of nine wins, seven draws and eight defeats. Elsewhere in Group D, Costa Rica will take on two-time winners Uruguay, who will be hoping to break their habit of slow starts, having recorded three draws and two losses since beating Israel 2-0 at Mexico 1970.
The action also begins in Group C, which, on paper, looks the most open of all. The quartet of hopefuls hail from four different continents – Africa, Asia, South America and Europe – and not only have none journeyed beyond the quarter-finals, the most experienced are Japan with just four previous World Cup participations. Colombia’s Radamel Falcao looked set to be the star of this section, but his absence through injury has further levelled the playing field.
Colombia-Greece (Group C), Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, 13.00 (local time)
Uruguay-Costa Rica (Group D), Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza, 16.00 (local time)
England-Italy (Group D), Arena Amazonia, Manaus, 18.00 (local time)
Côte d’Ivoire-Japan (Group C), Arena Pernambuco, Recife, 22.00 (local time)
Did you know?
Climate conundrum: England and Italy will cross swords in Manaus, the biggest city in the state of Amazonas, where the experts agree that battling the risk of dehydration will be a challenge all by itself. The searing temperatures and high humidity levels can cause excessive perspiration and a heightened loss of mineral salts, which research suggests has an impact on play. According to a recent study, a loss of water equivalent to two per cent of body weight can bring about a decrease in sporting performance close to 20 per cent. FIFA has taken precautions, however: should temperatures climb above 32C, the match referee, coordinator and doctor can decide to stop the game every 30 minutes to allow the players to recuperate and rehydrate.
Brazilian breakthrough?: Wayne Rooney does not usually struggle for goals, having struck 39 in 92 outings for England and 216 in 442 games for Manchester United, but he has yet to open his World Cup account despite eight appearances overall at Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010.
Fredy Guarin (COL) – Inter Milan holding midfielder. 43 caps (3 goals)
Check it out
Italy’s opener against England is already stirring up plenty of interest around the globe. To get in the mood for their Group D summit, read FIFA’s recent interview with England manager Roy Hodgson on why he expects great things from Brazil 2014 and the thoughts of his Azzurri counterpart Cesare Prandelli on the key players in Italy’s squad.
On this day
Sometimes, one missing player can make all the difference. On 14 June 1970, holders England saw victory in sight after taking a 2-0 lead against West Germany five minutes into the second half of their quarter-final tie in Leon, Mexico. Guilty of over-confidence, Three Lions manager Sir Alf Ramsey opted to withdraw midfield talisman Bobby Charlton with 20 minutes remaining, hoping “to rest him” for later tests, despite Franz Beckenbauer having pulled a goal back. It was a move that underestimated their opponents’ traditional never-say-die attitude, and West Germany forced extra time before slotting another goal past Peter Bonetti, wearing the gloves after Gordon Banks had succumbed to a bout of food poisoning.
Play and win
Your 11 presented by Hyundai is your chance to sit in the coaches’ hot seat for the 2014 World Cup. Select your favourite tactical formation and starting line-ups for each team at every match in Brazil. By choosing Your 11, you will automatically be entered into a random prize draw linked to that game. FIFA.com will unveil the line-ups and formations most popular with users once the official teams have been announced for each fixture.