Why Cesare Prandelli Can Use Lorenzo Insigne to Break Down Costa Rica's Defense

Matteo BonettiContributor IJune 18, 2014

VOLTA REDONDA, BRAZIL - JUNE 08:  Lorenzo Insigne of Italy celebrates scoring the fifth goal during the international friendly match between Italy and Fluminense FC on June 8, 2014 in Volta Redonda, Brazil.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

For Italy's next 2014 World Cup match against Costa Rica, manager Cesare Prandelli must now figure out what Uruguay couldn't.

The slow, lethargic play from the South Americans is not a style the Italians will try to emulate. Considering all things, forward Lorenzo Insigne could be the ideal man to break down this Costa Rica side, who are quickly becoming the Cinderella story of the tournament.

Joel Campbell celebrates
Joel Campbell celebratesMichael Steele/Getty Images

Costa Rica were undoubtedly the most surprising team from the first round of action between the groups.

Los Ticos absolutely embarrassed Uruguay by deservedly beating them 3-1, and they took the most improbable of leads in Group D—the same group where many had completely written off the CONCACAF side in favor of the three other more talented nations.

That being said, this new brand of "Tico-Taca" football from the Costa Ricans has given Cesare Prandelli a considerable amount of doubt.


Costa Rica play with five defenders at the back and can hit out on the counter with the explosive Joel Campbell.

The Arsenal-owned striker is making a case as player of the tournament, with Bryan Ruiz having the necessary quality to find him in space.

Given that Uruguay were also playing without their talisman Luis Suarez on the attack, it would have been this type of player who could have broken down Costa Rica's defense.

Since acceleration and great dribbling ability in closed spaces are not necessarily the main attributes of Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan, Italy could face similar problems against Costa Rica's defense if they don't use someone who can take people on the dribble—like Insigne.

Insigne could play alongside his old Pescara teammates Ciro Immobile and Marco Verratti
Insigne could play alongside his old Pescara teammates Ciro Immobile and Marco VerrattiAntonio Calanni/Associated Press

The Neapolitan winger squirms around tight quarters with ease, using his diminutive frame to guide him on his sizzling runs, where he often beats his defender without much effort.

Considering their opening-round result, Costa Rica could be very happy to get a draw in this match against Italy, so a highly offensive approach from Prandelli is needed.

The 4-5-1 based on plenty of midfield energy in the heat of Manaus won't be necessary. A more conventional, attack-minded 4-2-3-1 could be the key to breaking Los Ticos down. 

It could also be a great time to give Andrea Pirlo a rest and use Marco Verratti alongside Daniele De Rossi as the two holding midfielders.

Up top, don't be surprised to see a few changes as Prandelli gets ready for the match against Uruguay. Ciro Immobile has been used plenty in practice and could lead the line alongside his ex-Pescara team-mate Insigne.

Expect Antonio Cassano and Alessio Cerci to be used also—both have plenty of technique and will run right at Costa Rica's defensive unit.

Assuming Insigne starts, expect him to be a focal point in the line-up and one of the reasons why Italy will collect three points against a tricky opponent.