FIFA World Cup Preview: Italy v Costa Rica

Thiago Motta wants Italy to treat their FIFA World Cup Group D clash with Costa Rica like a final.

The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder is widely tipped to come into midfield in place of club-mate Marco Verratti for Friday's match.

Motta replaced Verratti three minutes before the hour in Italy's opening 2-1 win over England after the latter went into the contest having suffered from flu.

Italy are behind Costa Rica on goal difference at present after the Central American nation sprung a huge surprise with a 3-1 comeback triumph over Uruguay, and Motta was impressed with what he saw.

"In modern football there's no such thing as an easily beatable team," the 31-year-old said.

"Costa Rica played very well, ran a great deal and are not a surprise. They have good players, know what they are doing and it'll be a difficult match for us.

"They have players in attack who can make the difference. Costa Rica are very quick at passing it forward and also accustomed to these temperatures, so we need to be very careful.

"The enthusiasm they're running on after that win over Uruguay will also help boost their confidence. We must face this game as if it were a final."

Italy, who could be boosted by the return of captain Gianluigi Buffon after the veteran goalkeeper returned to training from an ankle injury, successfully employed a dual playmaker system in the keenly contested England clash.

Motta would slot into this set-up alongside the mercurial talents of Andrea Pirlo and admits his interpretation of the role is likely to differ from Verratti's

He added: "Clearly I do not have his same characteristics, but I'll try to give my best for my team-mates."

Defender Andrea Barzagli (knee) is a doubt for the match against a Costa Rica side who will be in buoyant mood.

Despite being pegged as the group's whipping boys and falling behind to Uruguay, Jorge Luis Pinto's side underlined their threat with a superb second-half display.

The exciting Joel Campbell initiated the revival with his equaliser nine minutes into the second half and the result has left Costa Rica with a good chance of making the last 16 for the first time since 1990.

Pinto labelled the win "a historic triumph" but urged his team to focus on the task at hand - qualification from the group.

Victory over Italy in Recife would put them on the brink of achieving that aim but Cesare Prandelli's men are unlikely to make the same mistake as Uruguay did in underestimating Pinto's charges.