Italy battle Uruguay in a winner-takes-all final game in group D. Both teams have a won one, lost one record in group. Italy find themselves in a better position as a draw will see them through. Uruguay must win in order to ensure qualification due to their worse goal difference. With England already out of the group, another big name will follow on Tuesday evening. Italy come into the game on the back of a poor performance against Costa Rica. The Italian’s lost 1-0, but missed a whole host of chances. They will need their finishing to improve in order to see themselves through to the knock-out stages. Uruguay welcomed back Luis Suarez against England and the Liverpool frontman was the difference as he scored both goals in their 2-1 win. If he is on form, they will have a great chance of going through.
Gianluigi Buffon recovered for Italy’s game against Costa Rica and the Italian goalkeeper should continue in goal. Thiago Motta should retain his place in midfield, but Marco Verratti will push him for a start. Mario Balotelli will again lead the line for the Italians. Mattia De Sciglio may miss out through injury.
Uruguay are hoping that Luis Suarez will be as fit as possible for the game. Maxi Pereira could return to the team after serving a one match ban after getting sent off against Costa Rica. If he does return, Alvaro Pereira could drop back to the bench.
The two teams last met in last year’s Confederations Cup third place play-off where Italy won 3-2 on penalties after drawing 2-2 in normal time. Edison Cavani was on the score sheet twice that day for Uruguay. He is yet to score in this tournament so far. The teams have met twice in a World Cup. The first time was in 1970 where they played out a 0-0 draw. The most recent time was in 1990 where Italy won 2-0. The Italians have only lost one of four games against the Uruguayans in a tournament setting. Italy have only lost three of their 19 games against South American opposition in the World Cup.
Giorgio Chiellini has become one of the world’s best centre-backs in recent years. The Italian defender is an uncompromising old fashioned centre-back. He has had some excellent seasons for Juventus in recent years, and he has become an important cog in the Italian wheel at international level. Chiellini began life as a left-back and that is where he played in Italy’s opening game against England. He moved back to his more familiar centre-back role against Costa Rica, but the Italians succumbed to Bryan Ruiz’s solitary goal. Italy go into the game knowing if they do not concede, they will go through to the knock-out stages. Chiellini will be very important in ensuring that is the case. Luis Suarez will be out to cause some damage to the Italian defence. Suarez showed against England that he is in clinical form and if Chiellini and company are not at their best, Suarez will fancy his chances of getting on the score sheet.
Luis Suarez has established himself as one of the best players in the world. The Uruguay striker has had a fantastic season for Liverpool where he managed 31 league goals and 12 assists. Suarez has been able to transfer this form into his World Cup campaign after missing Uruguay’s first group game with injury. Suarez had keyhole knee surgery four weeks before the tournament. It was questionable whether he would even be able to take part in the tournament, but he has made a miraculous recovery and given his nation a real chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages. Suarez is a threat anywhere around the box and has formed a great understanding with Edison Cavani. Together they will look to cause Italy as much trouble as possible. Suarez has scored 40 goals for his country and he is his country’s leading scorer. With a talisman like Suarez, Uruguay have the ability to beat Italy, but it depends whether he has recovered after the game against England.
It is anyone’s game in this fixture. The Italians have real world cup experience as few of their players lifted the trophy in 2006. Uruguay’s players have the experience of making the semi-final four years ago in South Africa. This game depends on who is able to take their chances on the day. The Italians know a draw will take them through, but they cannot afford to be complacent against a team containing Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani. My prediction is a 2-1 Uruguay win.