Confederations Cup Third Place Game: Italy vs Uruguay

2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Third Place Game
Italy vs Uruguay
Sunday, June 30, 2013, 3:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Arena Fonte Nova – Salvador, Brazil
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
Betting Line: Uruguay Pick -135 / Italy Pick +105
Total: Over 2 1/2 -152 / Under 2 1/2 +122
Three Way Line: Uruguay +130 / Italy +170 / Draw +235
(includes regular and stoppage time only, not overtime or shootout for all three wagers)

Italy is banged up as they take on Uruguay in the consolation game of the Confederations Cup Sunday
Italy is banged up as they take on Uruguay in the consolation game of the Confederations Cup Sunday

Both Italy and Uruguay lost heart breaking matches in the semifinals of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup to regional rivals. Uruguay lost 2-1 to Brazil in the first semifinal Wednesday. Thursday, Italy and Spain played to a scoreless draw through 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime. In the penalty kick shootout both teams made their first 6 kicks, before Spain finally survived 7-6 to advance to the final. Now Italy and Uruguay must get there emotions and energy levels back up for the third place game. Motivation might me an issue for both teams after emotional losses.

In the Uruguay-Brazil game Wednesday, the host nation Brazil outshot Uruguay 19-7 including 10-3 in shots on goal. Brazil had 9 corners and 1 free kick and Uruguay had 8 corners and no free kicks. Brazil had possession for 64% of the time and Uruguay had 36%.

In the first half, Uruguay forward Diego Forlan missed a penalty kick on a brilliant save from Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar. Brazilian forward Fred, playing in his home town of Belo Horizonte, opened the scoring just before halftime by kicking in the rebound off a Neymar miss. Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani stole a pass deep in Brazil territory and would score the equalizer 3 minutes after halftime. Neither team would score again until Brazilian midfielder Paulinho headed the ball in on a Neymar corner 86 minutes into the game. That would prove to be the game winner, as Brazil advanced to the final for the third straight Confederations Cup.

In the Italy-Spain game Thursday, the Spanish looked lethargic in the first half against and Injury depleted Italian side. Spain had defeated Italy 4-0 in last year’s European Championship. It was the unprecedented third straight major title for Spain after winning Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. Italy had at least 4 or maybe 5 good scoring chances in the first half but couldn’t capitalize because of some great goalkeeping by Iker Casillas  and some off target shots.

Spain would slow down the game in the second half and take control of the game. Spain had 2 scoring chances early in the second half   but couldn’t put it in the net. The rest of regulation was mostly played in the middle of the field as neither side could crack the defense. Spain did have a free kick late in the game that was punched out of bounds by Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon. It would have resulted in a corner but the referee blew the whistle for the end of regulation. Both teams hit the post in extra time.

In the shootout after no one could score in regulation or extra time, no one could miss in the penalty kicks. After five perfect kicks by both sides, it came down to sudden death. Both teams also made their sixth kick. In the seventh round, Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci finally missed. Spanish midfielder Jesus Navas buried his to send Spain to the final for the first time.

Spain had 19 shots to Italy’s 13, but Italy had 6 shots on goal and Spain only had 5. La Roja had 7 corners and a free kick, and Gli Azzuri had 6 and 1. Spain had 53% possession and Italy had 47%.

Uruguay leads the series against Italy 3-2-2. Uruguay won the last meeting 1-0 in in a friendly in Rome in November 2011.

Uruguay is managed by Oscar Tabarez. La Celeste will use a 3-4-3 attack led by Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan, and  Edinson Cavani. Forlan and Cavani sat out the Tahiti game for rest in the last game of the group stage. Both played  in the Brazil game as did captain Diego Lugano.  Like most of the defense, keeper Fernando Muslera has struggled recently but he does have potential. He kept Uruguay in the Brazil game with his brilliant net work. Uruguay is playing their 7th game in 25 days, so fatigue could be a factor.

Italy manager Cesare Prandelli who is normally mild mannered lit into his team after some lackluster efforts in friendlies and World Cup qualifyers. Italy will use a 3-4-2-1 attack. Italy will be without striker Mario Balotelli, who is out with a strained thigh muscle. Italy will also likely be without fullback Ignazio Abate and midfielder Andrea Pirlo.  Stephan El Shaarawy missed the games against Mexico and Japan with a muscle strain but came in as a late sub against Brazil in the group stage. He will start against Spain. Keeper Gianluigi Buffon is a top netminder, but the 36 year old is getting a bit long in the tooth.

There should be plenty of Uruguay fans coming across the nation’s Northern Border. Uruguay is also much healthier than Italy. That should be the difference. Uruguay wins something like 1-0 or 2-1.

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