Italy v Uruguay – Suarez To Slice Open AzzuriStats
Italy v Uruguay
Italy meet Uruguay to decide who will join the group’s surprise package, Costa Rica, in the knock-out rounds.
Italy suffered a shock defeat to Costa Rica in their last group game when Bryan Ruiz’s header towards the end of the first half put the Latin Americans through to the last 16. The Azzurri deserved nothing more form the game following a poor performance which was all the remarkable given they had looked so composed in their defeat of England in the first game. That 2-1 win came courtesy of goals from Claudio Marchisio and Mario Balotelli either side of Daniel Sturridge’s close-range effort for Roy Hodgson’s side.
Luis Suarez’s two-goal blast upon his comeback from injury in their last group game kept Uruguay in with a shout of grabbing a spot in the latter stages of the tournament and sent England packing at the group stage in a World Cup for the first time since 1958. They remain third in the group though after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica in their first game when Edinson Cavani’s penalty gave Uruguay the lead at the break before second half goals from Joel Campbell, Oscar Duarte and substitute Marco Urnea turned the game, and the group, on its head.
Defender Mattia De Sciglio is expected to miss out once more as the 21-year-old from AC Milan continues to struggle with a hamstring problem. That’s probably the least of boss Cesare Prandelli’s problems though as he is likely to make a raft of changes to the side that performed so poorly against the Ticos last time out. The likes of Matteo Verratti, Gabriel Paletta, Leonardo Bonucci and Ciro Immobile are all vying for starting places.
Alvaro Pereira may line-out instead of his namesake Maxi once more despite the latter returning from suspension following his sending off against Costa Rica although Alvaro did suffer a bad concussion against England and may need further recovery time. No other changes seem likely.
Italy knocked Uruguay out of last year’s Confederations Cup thanks to a 3-2 win on penalties after a 2-2 draw, with Cavani equalising twice after firstly Davide Astori and then Allesandro Diamanti had given Italy the lead – neither of whom are in the Azzurri’s squad now. This will be the third clash between the teams at a World Cup, with draw in the group games of 1970 and a 2-0 win for the Italians on their own patch in the last 16 tie of 1990.
In true Mad Max style we have a ‘two man enter one man leave’ format here whereby this is effectively a knockout game before the last 16 has even begun. It is, however, a game Italy can afford to draw, whereas Uruguay must win to overtake their opponents although they could still top the group too should England best Costa Rica. The fact this is balanced on a knife-edge is reflected in both teams being priced at 9/5, while all the other scores and results are priced in the same way.
Were it an Italian side of years gone by I’d fancy them to get a draw against any side should they need one but they looked a tired outfit against Costa Rica;
I’d lean towards the South Americans as they have a truly world class player at the peak of his powers in Suarez and that may just tilt it in their favour.
Take the Liverpool striker to score anytime at 5/4 or first at 9/2.