Get out your tricolore and wave it proudly, because first up on Friday it's...Italy! And in addition to the support from the peninsula and those people who just really love the amazing stylings of Andrea Pirlo, the azzurri will also have England supporters cheering them on. After Uruguay won last night (off two goals from Luis Suárez, of course), England need Italy to win their next two games. Then England must also beat Costa Rica, while also hoping goal difference swings in their favor.
If you're curious about Costa Rica, we've got a nice write-up to get you filled in before the match starts.
|Italy vs. Costa Rica||D||Arena Pernambuco, Recife||6 p.m./ noon|
|Switzerland vs. France||E||Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador||9 p.m./ 3 p.m.|
|Honduras vs. Ecuador||E||Arena da Baixada, Curitiba||midnight/ 6 p.m.|
Any Napoli players involved?
When you see "Switzerland," you think "Napoli." That's just how it goes. Valon Behrami and Gokhan Inler both started against Ecuador, and given that France have a much more potent attack, we can expect to see the two midfield enforcers combine again. There was no love for Blerim Džemaili last time around, despite Switzerland desperately needing another goal, but maybe we'll see the wood sprite for a few minutes today.
Then, of course, there's Italy. Home to just one Napoli international, but what a fine one he is. Cesare Prandelli really should've thrown caution into the wind and added Lorenzo Insigne on in the second half, if only to make the azzurri a bit more lively. Let's hope he gets some time against Costa Rica.
What should I keep an eye on?
Just enjoy. It's Friday, it's a week into the World Cup and Italy are on. Why try to analyze it?
But if you do, please remember Xherdan Shaqiri is pronounced "shascheerii". It'll make you sound cooler when you're criticizing him at the bar.
How do I watch these games?
In Italy? You're on SkyGO or Sky Mondiale. In the US it's ESPN in English and Univision in Spanish, and both have online streaming platforms, while Canadians friends have CBC and the CBC Sports player. In the UK you can watch ITV for the first match and BBC One for the rest of the day, or use the ITV or BBC players online. If you live elsewhere, check LiveSoccerTV for listings in your country.