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Italy vs Costa Rica: surprise gift for the unexpected team

Italy vs Costa Rica: surprise gift for the unexpected team, world cup 2014
Italy vs Costa Rica ; image credit espn.go.com

The opening performance by the Italians was impressive. Especially for the group D, which is considered as the group of death in this World Cup 2014, Brazil. Many, must have expected Italy to make an easier effort for the next round. Costa Rica was truly an easier opponent comparing the other two.

But this is not the first time. The Azzurri have a history of making such difficulties for themselves. With the lesser opponent they just missed the chance to manage their place for the last 16. Nothing but the poor performance, they offered, is liable for the defeat in Italy vs Costa Rica match.

Primarily we couldn’t just determine what to expect from the Cesare Prandelli’s team. As they have recently vanquished the English, less than a week ago. A number of decisions from the Italy coach only exaggerated that feeling. His tinkering with the starting XI made sense. But certainly his choices seemed erroneous with the Friday’s match moving on.

There is no opportunity to argue with the goalkeeper change. Even after the Salvatore Sirigu’s excellent display against England in Manaus. The stopper enjoyed a solid outing. May be he also would acknowledge that the return of Gigi Buffon was inevitable. As soon as the Juventus man is recovered from his ankle injury, he is meant to be with the starting eleven for Italy vs Costa Rica match.

Italy vs Costa Rica: As it happened

 Their captain was where the real issues lay. The initial decision to drop Gabriel Paletta again seemed a wise move. He just struggled too much for the opening match. Parma defender looked woeful. English attacking players were constantly getting the better of him, though failed for his unsteady showing.

So the withdrawal made serious implications across the Italy back line. With Matteo Darmian swapping flanks to left-back, Giorgio Chiellini shifted back into the centre. And Ignazio Abate was drafted in on the right. But the Milan full-back was offered a torrid time in Italy vs Costa Rica match. He was constantly out of position and just allowed Junior Dias far too much space, which led the only goal of this match.

world cup 2014, group stage, Italy vs Costa Rica
the only goal ; image credit o.canada.com/Jamie McDonald

Andrea Barzagli retained his position within the back five. Their defensive mix-ups were really no surprise. But Joel Campbell was unlucky not to add to that Bryan Ruiz opener. The Azzurri woes at one end of the field were only compounded further forward. And swapping Marco Verratti for Thiago Motta robbed Italy of some much needed creativity for that particular match.

Against England on Saturday night, the 21-year-old midfielder was constantly probing the defence. He completed 97 percent of his passes right. He also assisted for Claudio Marchisio’s opening goal. Another time he managed a clever corner routine involving Andrea Pirlo making room for his raking shot from distance, outside the d box.

This time, there were far fewer opportunities against a well-organized team. Prandelli made three attacking changes and sought an equalizer. But no effects. He introduced, Antonio Cassano, Lorenzo Insigne and Alessio Cerci. Still failed to provide a cutting edge in Italy vs Costa Rica match. His tri managed to provide only one shot on target.

Mario Balotelli can be considered as an increasingly isolated and frustrated figure. The Milan striker managed just 24 touches over the 90 minutes game. For all his 12 pass attempts, he never really came close to his match-winning heroics like the one against England. And at the second half he got the deserved yellow card, as had loosen his temperament.

Just one shot on target!! This kind of performance by the striker was indicative of the uncertainty and unfamiliarity for the team. May be Prandelli’s changes were not that much helping the side, rather hindered the spirit. Now this will bring down a great payment for the Azzurri as to progress to the next round. They will be needing at least one point against Uruguay to last for the final 16. But honestly speaking, it will definitely be a difficult prospect if Luiz Suarez performs as he did in his own victory against England yesterday.

Italy vs Costa Rica: surprise gift for the unexpected team, Costa Rica 2nd round, last 16 for Costa Rica, defeated Italy
Costa Rica wins against Italy ; image credit www.aol.com

And yet, for a very few occasions, even the returning Buffon looked shaky. Though, after the full time he can be proclaimed as the iconic one who summed up the situation a little better.

The Italy skipper told to Sky Italia,

“You get back on your feet by looking on the bright side”

And he believes that Azzurri must be just doing that now.

So, to qualify to the next round is on their hand. Prandelli must get things right on Tuesday against Uruguay. Team Italy (4 times World Cup winner ) needs more creativity, at least more than the Italy vs Costa Rica match. And again, changes should also needs to be well planned as not to harm the team combination but to fuel the victory. A great match awaits I believe!!

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Mario Balotelli: “England can’t win the World Cup”

Mario Balotelli, the Italian striker has already written off England’s chances of winning the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

balotelli, Italy world cup
Mario Balotelli—-image via: en.wikipedia.org

In the opening game of the tournament Italy face England on June 14 in Manaus, Brazil. Mario Balotelli, the one of the most controversials has already begun to fan the flames ahead of the match by questioning the big-tournament mentality of England’s footballers.

Balotelli said,

” I don’t look at England as a team that can win the World Cup. They have some good players, but they are no real rivals for Italy.”

balotelli goal, italy national team
Balotelli vs England—-image via: en.wikipedia.org

The former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli will be aiming to damage England’s chances to march through a perilous group consisting Uruguay and Costa Rica. Mario Balotelli was notoriously famous for his erratic off-field antics during three years in England. In 2010, he joined Manchester city from Inter Milan for £24 million. Balotolli proved himself in the City scoring 30 goals in 49 appearances and helping them win the Barclays premier League, FA Cup and Community shield.

On 29 January 2013, Balotelli moved to AC Milan signing a four-and-a-half year deal which is worth of €20 million.

Mario Balotelli made his first appearance for Italy on 10 August 2010 in a friendly match against Ivory Coast. One year later, Balotelli found the net making his first international goal. So far he scored 12 goals in 29 caps for Italy. Certainly Balotelli’s holding the power –torch of attack for Italy in this World Cup.

Mario Balotelli was on the Italian expectation to Euro 2012 and played a leading role in the tournament. Right from the opening group stage he contributed to the Italy’s qualification for the final stages with a magnificent overhead shot against Ireland in the last minute.

balotelli, balotelli goal celebration
Balotelli’s goal celebration vs Germany in Euro 2012—–image via: soomaalidamaanta.com

When Italy met England in the quarter finals, Mario scored the first of the penalties after 120 minutes that decided the match.

In the semi final against Germany Mario Balotelli scored two fantastic goals and his extraordinary performance placed him in the hearts of all Italian fans.

The 23-year-old striker is confident that Italy will kick off their World Cup campaign with a victory over England.

‘In the opening game we have to respect England because it is important to get off to a good start,’

he said.

‘They have maybe two or three players who can hurt us, but we feel well prepared for the tournament and expect to start off with a win.’

The two teams, Italy and England met each other in the World Cup five times. With 3 wins Italy will be the favourite one, while England has 1 win and 1 match remained a draw.

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Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time

Serie A is a professional football league competition. Top Italian football clubs take part in Serie A, where they prove themselves to be the best. Serie A has been operating since the season of 1929-30. The football competition has been responsible for producing a number of great players since the beginning. Serie A has become one of the best football leagues in the world. In fact, the league was considered the best football league in the world in the 90’s. The Serie A players are notably the best in footwork, some for their goal-keeping performance, and some for their goal-scoring abilities.

Sporty Ghost have enlisted the top 10 footballers as the Serie A top goal scorers of all time in Italian history. So, let’s take a look and most importantly don’t forget to give us your valuable comments.

Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time:

10. Alessandro Del Piero, 188

Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time, Alessandro Del Piero
Alessandro Del Piero ; image credit tr.wikipedia.org

Italian footballer Alessandro Del Piero plays as a deep-lying forward for the team. He is currently playing in Indian Super League for the team Delhi Dynamos FC. His Italian Serie A career has been flourished by 188 goals in 478 matches during his time. His club career spanned from 1993 to 2012 with an average of 0.39 goals per Serie A match. Considering the number of goals he scored in Serie A, Alessandro Del Piero is in the 10th place in the list of Serie A top goal scorers of all time. Here are some stats of his amazing goal records for different Serie A clubs-

Padova: 1991-1993: 14 matches: 1 goal
Juventus: 1993-2012: 513 matches: 208 goals

During his international football career, between 1995-2008, he netted 27 goals in 91 international appearances.

Also Read: Top 10 most paid footballers in Italian Serie A

9. Giuseppe Signori, 188

Former Italian striker Giuseppe Signori was an important part of Italian team in 1994 FIFA World Cup, where Italy reached the final. He scored a total of 188 goals, same as Del Piero, but in less Serie A matches, 344. During his club career, between 1991 to 2004, Signori had enjoyed much playing in Italian serie A. He scored at an average of 0.55 goals per Serie A match. The reason is very clear, why his name has been inducted at no.9 in our list of Serie A top goal scorers of all time. His Serie A club profile and international records are given below-

Lazio: 1992-1997: 152 matches: 117 goals
Bologna: 1998-2004: 142 matches: 70 goals.
Italy: 1992-1995: 28 matches: 7 goals.

8. Kurt Hamrin, 190

Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time, Kurt Hamrin
Kurt Hamrin ; image credit pt.wikipedia.org

Former Swedish footballer Kurt Hamrin is widely regarded as the finest footballer for his incredible dribbling ability. He is also one of the greatest Swedish footballers of all time sports history. In Italian Serie A, Hamrin scored 190 goals in his 400 appearances during his club career between 1956 and 1971. With an average 0.48 goal record per match, Kurt Hamrin is placed at no. 8 in our list of Serie A top goal scorers of all time. He had a glorious Serie A career by playing in different Italian clubs.

Juventus: 1956-1957: 23 matches: 8 goals
Padova: 1957-1958: 30 matches: 20 goals
Fiorentina: 1958-1967: 289 matches: 150 goals
AC Milan: 1967-1969: 36 matches: 9 goals.
Napoli: 1967-1971: 22 matches: 3 goals

He also played an important part for the Swedish National team, scoring 17 goals in 32 international matches between 1953-1965.

7. Antonio Di Natale, 203

Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time , Antonio Di Natale
Antonio Di Natale ; image credit commons.wikimedia.org

Antonio Di Natale is an Italian playmaker who currently plays for Serie A team Udinese as a forward. He was awarded the Serie A Capocannoniere award two times consecutively in 2009/10 and 2010/11 season of serie A. From 2002 till now, Antonio Di Natale has gathered 203 goals in his bag in 414 Serie A matches. He is at no.7 in our list of Serie A top goal scorers of all time. He averaged 0.49 goals per Serie A match during his career. Here are some of his records-

Empoli: 1996-2004: 158 matches: 49 goals
Udinese: 2004- now : 350 matches: 185 goals
Italy: 2002-2012: 42 matches: 11 goals

Antonio is a quick, hardworking and versatile striker with a lethal sharp eye for goal. He is able to play anywhere along the front and better known as a lone striker.

6. Roberto Baggio, 205

Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time, Roberto Baggio
Roberto Baggio ; image credit commons.wikimedia.org

Roberto Baggio is a technically gifted Italian playmaker and is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He is not only renowned for his curling free kicks but also for his incredible pace and dribbling. Baggio was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1993 and also won the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or the same year. He ended his remarkable Serie A career with 205 goals in 452 appearances between 1985 and 2004. With an average of 0.45 goal per Serie A match, he inducted himself at no. 6 place in the list of Serie A top goal scorers of all time. This creative footballer has played for many Italian Serie A club as follows-

Vicenza: 1982-1985: 36 matches: 13 goals
Fiorentina: 1985-1990: 94 matches: 39 goals
Juventus: 1990-1995: 141 matches: 78 goals
Milan: 1995-1997: 51 matches: 12 goals
Bologna: 1997-1998: 30 matches: 22 goals
Internazionale: 1998-2000: 41 matches: 9 goals
Brescia: 2000-2004: 95 matches: 45 goals.
Italy: 1988-2004: 56 matches: 27 goals

Also Read: Top 10 best football players in the world

5. José Altafini, 216

Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time, José Altafini
José Altafini ; image credit commons.wikimedia.org

Jose Altafini is regarded as one of Italian Serie A’s as well as Milan’s greatest footballers ever. He was the most complete striker of his generation with his well-rounded striking performance. He was quick and strong and a prolific goal scorer all through his footballing career. He held the record for most goals in a single European Cup for more than 50 years untill the record was broken by Lionel Messi. Altafini scored a total of 216 goals in 459 Serie A appearances during his club career between 1958-1976. He stays at 5th place in our list of Serie A top goal scorers of all time with an average of 0.47 goal per match. He is a hallmark for playing powerful and accurate shots.

AC Milan: 1958-1965: 205 matches: 120 goals
Napoli: 1965- 1972: 180 matches: 71 goals
Juventus: 1972-1976: 74 matches: 25 goals
Brazil: 1957-1958: 8 matches: 4 goals
Italy: 1961-1962: 6 matches: 5 goals.

4. Giuseppe Meazza, 216

Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time, Giuseppe Meazza
Giuseppe Meazza ; image credit en.wikipedia.org

Giuseppe Meazza is widely regarded as the best player of his generation as well as the greatest Italian player of all time. Meazza led Italy to win two consecutive FIFA world cup football, notably in 1934 at home and in 1938 as the captain of Italian team. He won the Golden ball award in 1934 world cup. He is best known for his technical skill and prolific goal-scoring ability. Meazza was often nicknamed as “il genio” (the genius) by the press during his time. He is the second highest goal scorer for the Italian National Team.

Internazionale: 1927-1940: 348 matches: 241 goals
Milan: 1940-1942: 37 matches: 9 goals
Juventus: 1942-1943: 27 matches: 10 goals
Varese: 1944: 20 matches: 7 goals
Internazionale: 1946-1947: 17 matches: 2 goals
Italy: 1930-1939: 53 matches: 33 goals.

3. Gunnar Nordahl, 225

Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time, Gunnar Nordahl
Gunnar Nordahl ; image credit commons.wikimedia.org

Gunnar Nordahl is a Swedish professional football player and a former Italian Serie A footballer. He was best known for his spell at AC Milan from 1949 to 1956. During that peroid, Gunnar Nordahl won two Scudetto titles and was awarded Capocannonieri awards more than any other footballer in the history of Italian Serie A. He is best regarded as the greatest Swedish player of all time. With an average 0.77 goals per Serie A match, he is at no. 3 in our list of Serie A top goal scorers of all time. He is famous for his pace and attacking football. Here are some stats on his football career.

AC Milan: 1949-1956: 257 matches: 210 goals
Roma: 1956-1958: 34 matches: 15 goals
Sweden: 1942-1948: 33 matches: 43 goals.

2. Francesco Totti, 240

Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time, Francesco Totti
Francesco Totti ; image credit commons.wikimedia.org

Francesco Totti is a creative playmaker who is famous for his goal scoring ability and technical skill. He is considered to be one of the best Italian footballers of all time. Being one of the most talented players in his generation, he is Roma’s greatest player ever. He was awarded Oscar del calcio AIC a record 11 times including five Italian Footballer of the Year awards. Totti is the FIFA World Cup winner for Italy in 2006 and Euro finalist in 2000. He is one of the most popular footballers in Europe. He is the 2nd highest goal scorer in Italian Serie A with his one and only club Roma.

Roma: 1992-now: 582 matches: 240 goals.
Italy: 1998-2006: 58 matches: 9 goals

Also Read: Highest earning athletes in the world 2015

1. Silvio Piola, 274

Serie A Top Goal Scorers of All time, Silvio Piola
Silvio Piola ; image credit commons.wikimedia.org

Silvio Piola is known as a highly prominent football figure is the history of Italian football. He is the greatest striker of his generation. He is the winner of 1938 FIFA World Cup for Italy. The world cup was as remarkable for him as he scored two goals in the final and finished the tournament as the second best player. He is the third in all-time top goal scorers for Italy. Piola is the player we are looking for our list of Serie A top goal scorers of all time.

Lazio: 1934-1943: 227 matches: 143 goals
Juventus: 1945-1947: 57 matches: 26 goals
Italy: 1935-1952: 34 matches: 30 goals.