World Cup 2014: Today at the tournament - day nine

France celebrate and Mario Balotelli protests
France know a win will take them close to the knockout stages, while Italy can reach round two

Either Italy or Costa Rica can seal their Group D progress with victory when they meet in Recife, while a draw would officially end England's slim hopes of advancing to the last 16.

Meanwhile, France take on Switzerland with both sides knowing a win will put them in control of Group E.

Today at the World Cup tells you everything you need to know, from who is playing, who you can expect to win, which players to watch out for and how to ensure you do not miss any of the action.

Italy supporters
Italy supporters must travel to Recife to watch their side take on Costa Rica

Who is playing - and who will win?

Italy v Costa Rica

Italy v Costa Rica, Group D (17:00 BST)

Mark Lawrenson: "United States boss Jurgen Klinsmann told me a while ago that Costa Rica are a good side, and they showed it with their win over Uruguay.

"There were moments in their game against England where Italy looked uncomfortable, but they got the job done, and they will do that again here."

Lawro's prediction: Italy 1-0 Costa Rica

Switzerland v France

Switzerland v France, Group E (20:00 BST)

"Honduras tried to kick France out of the game in their opening match but, thankfully, it didn't work. Didier Deschamps's side won quite comfortably in the end but we did not learn much about them because of their opponents' lack of quality.

"Switzerland will offer more of a test of how good France actually are but, by the looks of things, Les Bleus are very strong in midfield."

Lawro's prediction: Switzerland 0-1 France

Honduras v Ecuador

Honduras v Ecuador, Group E (23:00 BST)

"Honduras were poor against France and their tactics will probably be to just try to stop an energetic Ecuador side, who only lost to Switzerland in injury time. I can't see that working this time either."

Lawro's prediction: Honduras 1-2 Ecuador

One to watch

Blaise Matuidi

A pillar of consistency for Paris St-Germain as they claimed the French title in 2013-14, France's Blaise Matuidi has carried his club form into the international arena.

The 27-year-old had a pass completion rate of 92% during their campaign and 93% of his 87 passes in France's opening win over Honduras found the feet of a team-mate.

With Yohan Cabaye and Paul Pogba alongside Matuidi in midfield for Les Bleus, Deschamps can boast a trio who all cherish possession.

Deschamps describes Matuidi as a "first-name-on-the-team-sheet player" and, having been nicknamed 'marathon man' by team-mates, the former St Etienne player is recognised for his hard-working, combative style.

At a reported 7.5m Euros (£6m), PSG seem to have found a well-priced midfield dynamo. France will hope his consistency continues.

The key battle

Xherdan Shaqiri is Switzerland's bundle of attacking energy but, in Patrice Evra, he faces a man eager to make amends on the international stage.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Patrice Evra
Xherdan Shaqiri will operate on the Swiss right against France left-back Patrice Evra

Evra, 33, was stripped of the French captaincy by Raymond Domenech at the 2010 Fifa World Cup for leading a players' strike, only to be reinstated by Deschamps.

Shaqiri is 11 years his junior and scored twice and created three goals as Switzerland went unbeaten in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Their group may not have boasted stellar names, with Iceland finishing runners-up, but Shaqiri - largely peripheral at his club side Bayern Munich this season - is tricky and energetic.

Left-footed Shaqiri is given licence to roam infield from the right flank and that will present a conundrum for the 1998 World Cup winners, but he will need to show defensive discipline because Evra and Antoine Griezmann offer threat down the French left.

Planning your World Cup day - key timings
06:00 - 09:00 BSTWorld Cup BreakfastBBC Radio 5 live
08:00 - 16:00 BSTWorld Cup SportsdayBBC Sport website
09:30 - 09:38 BSTWorld Cup Catch UpBBC News Channel
13:30 - 15:00 BSTRio ReportBBC Radio 5 live
16:00 - 01:15 BSTText/audio commentary of matchesBBC Sport website
16:00 - 19:05 BSTItaly v Costa RicaBBC One and BBC Radio 5 live
19:30 - 19:58 BSTSportsdayBBC News Channel
19:30 - 22:15 BSTSwitzerland v FranceITV and BBC Radio 5 live
22:35 - 01:15 BSTHonduras v EcuadorITV and BBC Radio 5 live
23:40 - 23:58 BSTSportsdayBBC News Channel
01:35 - 03:20 BST SaturdayItaly v Costa Rica re-runBBC Two
10:00 - 10:45 BST SaturdayMatch of the Day - Thursday's highlightsBBC Two

Stats of the day

Italy's pass completion of 93% in their Group D opener against England is the highest recorded in a World Cup game (1966-2014).

The Italians have scored in their last 15 World Cup games, a record for them and the best current run of any side in the tournament.

Ricardo Rodriguez
Ricardo Rodriguez (right) created two goals for Switzerland against Ecuador

The last three games between Switzerland and France have all been drawn, producing just two goals.

With his brace against Honduras, Karim Benzema became the first France player to score two goals in a World Cup game since Zinedine Zidane in the 1998 final.

Ricardo Rodriguez delivered two assists in Switzerland's opening game against Ecuador - and he provided more assists than any other defender in the 2013-14 German Bundesliga, setting up nine goals.

Ecuador head-coach Reinaldo Rueda was in charge of Honduras at the 2010 tournament, but his side failed to score and picked up just one point.

And Honduras head-coach Luis Fernando Suarez was in charge of Ecuador in 2006, where he took La Tri to the last 16, the country's best performance in the tournament.

World Cup nostalgia

Ecuador manager Luis Suarez
Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez masterminded Ecuador's best-ever World Cup campaign in 2006

Honduras coach Suarez was a national hero for Ecuador in 2006 when he guided them to the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time.

The former defender, now 54, saw his side earn two group wins, before being knocked out by a David Beckham free-kick as England beat them 1-0.

Suarez resigned after Ecuador failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, before returning to international management with Honduras.

Today's Brazilian lesson

The Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador - where France meet Switzerland - is so far the place to be for goals at the 2014 Fifa World Cup, with 10 arriving in the two matches it has so far staged.

Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil
Arena Fonte Nova, which has a capacity of 56,000, has seen 10 goals in two World Cup games so far

Spain's crushing 5-1 defeat by Netherlands and Germany's 4-0 win over Portugal took place in the city, which is known as Brazil's capital of happiness because of the number of outdoor parties it stages.

Day nine of the world cup. Tom Shcafernaker has the forecast.

However, with a tropical climate, partygoers could be running for cover in June - historically one of the wettest months of the year in the city.

African ancestry is a key part of its character. It is a rich and diverse city, but poverty and crime are also rife so in Salvador you are guaranteed to get a deeper insight into the contrasts that have formed modern-day Brazilian society.

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