Italy (Italia) v Uruguay will take place at Arena das Dunas stadium in Natal on Tuesday, June 24 (9:00 AM Pacific), in one of the most important matches in the World Cup so far – since it defines the qualification for the round of 16 of one of the two teams, while the other will go back home without passing the group stage. In that sense, it’s like a match of the knockout stage.
Before the World Cup, when the Group D was named the “Group of the death”, it was because three world champions were in the same group: Italy, Uruguay and England. Nobody thought that Costa Rica, which are now the revelation of the World Cup, would win the first two matches as they did, leaving England without chances of qualifying for the next stage before the last match of the group was played.
But things are that way and, as Costa Rica won their two matches against Italy and Uruguay, and England lost against the same two opponents, the Ticos qualified for the round of 16 since they have six points, and the only teams that could reach their position are Uruguay and Italy, that will play against each other.
Italy and Uruguay will define the second team that will continue in the World Cup in the Tuesday match. The Azzurri have a better goal average (0 against -1), so a tie will be enough for them in order to reach the second position and qualify for the next round.
On the other hand, Uruguay needs the victory if they don’t want to go back home too soon, and if they win they’ll guarantee their place in the knockout stage – they can even finish at the first position depending on the result of England-Costa Rica (of course, Italy can also finish at the top of the group in case they win.)
Italy won their first match against England by 2-1, with goals by Claudio Marchisio and Mario Balotelli, and lost against Costa Rica 1-0 last Saturday.
For the match against Uruguay, it seems that manager Cesare Prandelli will make changes in the scheme. Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi finished the match against Costa Rica with a calf injury and is almost ruled out for Tuesday clash. Therefore, Prandelli can’t use the 4-1-4-1 scheme, in which De Rossi was a key player as defensive midfielder.
Because of that, the boss may use three center-backs: Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci – who hasn’t played in the World Cup yet – and Giorgio Chiellini, all from Juventus.
In addition, Mattia De Sciglio is ready to return to the lineup after a thigh injury, and Prandelli may play with two strikers, with Ciro Immobile (Capocannoniere in the last Serie A season with 22 goals in 33 matches played for Torino) as Mario Balotelli partner.
Uruguay surprisingly lost their first match, 3-1 against Costa Rica, and won the second game against England by 2-1, with two goals of Luis Suárez, who came back after a knee injury that he got less than a month ago and that even required a surgery.
For the Tuesday match, manager Óscar Tabarez can’t rely on center-back Diego Lugano (knee injury), while fullback Maximiliano Pereira can return to the team after a one match ban due to a red card in the first game, against Costa Rica.
However, on Sunday training session, the boss made the same lineup that started the match against England, but he said that he’ll confirm the team only a few minutes before the beginning of the match.
Italy and Uruguay played eight times, with two victories for each team and four ties. In World Cup they played twice: the first time in Mexico 1970 (0-0 tie), and the second in Italy 1990 (the Azzurri won by 2-0 in the round of 16).
Their last match was on June 30, 2013, in the Confederations Cup in Brazil. They played the for the third place and they tied 2-2 after the 90 minutes. With no goals scored in overtime, Italy finally won by 3-2 in the penalty shoot-out.
Italy vs Uruguay Prediction
This is the most important match in the World Cup for both teams so far and they’ll both play it as a final game for sure. As Italy needs only a tie, they could play in a more defensive way, but that’s always a risk if strikers like Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani play on the opposite side.
In my opinion, Uruguay will look for the goal during the whole match, and I think that the weather may help them. Even when Italy has better players, the Uruguayans will give everything in order to win the match, and I think they can do it.
Italy 1 – 2 Uruguay
Italy vs Uruguay Television
The Italy vs Uruguay match will be televised in the USA on ESPN3 (stream) and Univision Deportes at 9:00 AM Pacific.