Uruguay's striker Luis Suarez
Tuesday Jun 24, 2014. 09:35
Italy and Uruguay will have it all to play for when they meet in Group D’s final match at the Estadio das Dunas in Natal on Tuesday
evening vying for a spot in the Last 16 of the World Cup.
Kick-off will be at 18h00
Both outfit’s fates are dangling by a thread when they line up against each other under the sweltering heat of the Amazon city.
Italy were expected to qualify for the knockout stages last Friday evening, but they were dealt a massive blow when Costa Rica threw a second spanner in the works to split open the group.
Following a convincing display over England, the Azzurri were confident of their abilities in coming up a Los Ticos side, who despite having beaten Uruguay in the group opener, were unmatched quality wise to Italy.
But Cesare Prandelli’s men learnt their lesson quickly as the pace and passion of the Costa Ricans saw them better the four-times World Cup winners on many levels, seeing Bryan Ruiz net the only goal of the game to win 1-0.
Italy had failed to win a second group match since France 1998 and their innings was only extended in a disappointing display that saw even the ever-green Andrea Pirlo fail to inspire.
“History teaches us the higher the stakes, the more we deliver. Mind you, it would be a little masochistic and risky if we only performed when we were drowning...” confessed Gianluigi Buffon who recover in time to face Costa Rica.
“This is my 10th major tournament and only once, in last year’s Confederations Cup, where we already qualified before the third game.
“Uruguay are a side to be feared and there is an echo effect from the recent games. We are coming off a deserved defeat to Costa Rica, while Uruguay are fresh from beating England.”
Costa Rica’s 3-1 win over Uruguay means Italy can get away with a 1-1 draw against Oscar Tabarez’s side to see them through to the next round, but the Italians know full well they can’t rely on that.
Los Charrúas showed a great amount of improvement from their defeat on Match day one to bounce back and end England’s hopes with their 2-1 triumph in Sao Paulo.
Luis Suarez’s return to the team brought an inevitable change of fortune as he helped inspire his nation to their first victory of the campaign all while handing the Three Lions their second loss to eliminate them from the tournament.
The three times World Cup winners have the right amount of quality to see them defeat Prandelli’s side, and Juventus defender Martin Caceres is hoping to use his knowledge of the Italian game to his nation’s advantage.
“I think Coach Tabarez will ask me for information about Italy and Juventus, especially my club teammates,” confessed Caceres.
“I don’t expect Italy to put 10 men behind the ball, as that is not their style. It suits us, as Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani become deadly with a little space. We’ll play on the counter-attack.
“Uruguayans tend to give their best in difficult situations, as we already proved against England,” continued the centre-back.
“Italy’s defeat to Costa Rica surprised us all. It would’ve been better for us if the Azzurri had won. That way a draw was enough for both teams.”