2014 World Cup Italy vs Uruguay

2014 World Cup – Group D
Italy vs Uruguay

Arena das Dunas – Natal, Brazil
Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN, Univision
Money Line: Uruguay +185 / Italy +140 / Draw +245
Point Line: Italy Pick -120 / Uruguay Pick Even
Total: under 2.5 -125 / over 2.5 +105
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker 

Italy is a slight favorite against Uruguay in Group D of the World Cup. The winner will advance to the knockout stage.
Italy is a slight favorite against Uruguay in Group D of the World Cup. The winner will advance to the knockout stage.

Group D was considered one of the most difficult of the World Cup groups with three former World Cup champions in Uruguay, Italy and England along with Costa Rica. Even though Costa Rica is a quality side from North America, they were considered to be the long shot of the group. Well, someone forgot to tell them that as they beat Uruguay 3-1 and Italy 1-0 last Friday in Recife to clinch a berth in the knockout round. Costa Rica takes on England Tuesday. England lost to both Italy and Uruguay by identical 2-1 scores and was eliminated before the knockout round for the first time in 10 World Cups. The England-Uruguay game was played last Thursday in Sao Paulo.

Costa Rica will clinch first place in the group with a win or a draw against England. Costa Rica is +3 in goals. Italy plays Uruguay in Natal at the same time. Both Italy and Uruguay have three points. The winner will clinch a spot in the knockout round. Italy will also clinch with a draw. The Italians have a goal differential of 0 to -1 for Uruguay. There is an outside shot that the winner of Italy and Uruguay could win the group, but Costa Rica would have to lose to England and either team would have to overcome the significant goal differential advantage for Costa Rica. The winner of Group D will likely face Ivory Coast, Japan or Greece in the round of 16. The runner up will likely face Colombia.

Uruguay leads the series against Italy 3-2-4. Italy won the last meeting in penalties in the third place match of last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup also in Brazil. That game was tied 2-2 at the end of extra time, and Italy won 3-2 in penalties. They have played twice in the World Cup and Italy leads the series 1-0-1. Italy won 2-0 in 1990 and they played to a scoreless draw in 1970.

Italy was a significant favorite against Costa Rica. However, Costa Rica took a 1-0 lead at 44 minutes on a Bryan Ruiz header. Antonio Cassano came in at halftime for Thiago Motta. Italy was more aggressive in the second half, but Costa Rica held on for the 1-0 upset to clinch a spot in the knockout round for only the second time.

Each team had 10 shots including 6 on goal. Costa Rica was much more physical with 24 fouls to 10 for Italy. Italy had possession for 58% of the time. Costa Rica had 5 corners to 4 for Italy. Italy was called for offside 11 times to 3 for Costa Rica.

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez missed the opening loss to Costa Rica  after minor knee surgery last month. He made up for lost time last Friday giving Uruguay a 1-0 lead at 39 minutes against England. Wayne Rooney tied it up for England at 75 minutes. Suarez would score the game winner at 85 minutes to win the match. Eng;and was later eliminated by Costa Rica’s upset over Italy.

England had 13 shots and 8 on goal. Uruguay had 10 and 6. Uruguay had 17 fouls to 12 for England. England dominated possession 62% to 38%. Uruguay had 7 corners to six for England. Uruguay was called offside three times to one for England.

Italy is coached Cesare Prandelli. Italy will use a 3-5-2 formation after using a four man defense against England and Costa Rica. Midfielder Daniele De Rossi missed the Costa Rica game with injury and is doubtful against Uruguay. Mario Balotelli is a quality striker but his fiery temper sometimes gets him in trouble. Keeper Gianluigi Buffon could be playing in his last World Cup game and is in his fifth World Cup.

Uruguay is coached by Oscar Tabarez. Uruguay will use a 4-3-1-2 formation. Uruguay has injuries to several key players. Captain Diego Lugano missed the last match against England and is doubtful against Italy. Alvaro Pereira is doubtful with a concussion. Maxi Pereira is still suspended after a red card against Costa Rica. Suarez and Edinson Cavani might be the top scoring forward duo in the world. Fernando Muslera is the keeper but sometimes struggles like did against Costa Rica.

Uruguay has the advantage of playing in neighboring Brazil. Still Uruguay has injury woes. I think this will be a close game, but Italy wins 2-1. Italy is trying to avoid going out in the group stage for the second straight World Cup.

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