Do Or Die In Group Of Death

Picture: AFP/fifa.com
Mario Balotelli could steal the limelight and headlines from opposite striker Luis Suarez. Picture: AFP/fifa.com

Italy Flag

Italy v Uruguay



Estadio das Dunas, Natal
Wednesday June 25 – 2:00 AM (AEST)


Uruguay Flag


It was dubbed as the group of death before the World Cup kicked off, now it’s left to Uruguay  and Italy  to battle it out for the last qualifying spot in Group D.

After slipping up in their opening match against the tournament’s surprise packets Costa Rica, Uruguay kept their dreams alive with a last gasp 2-1 win over England. The return of Luis Suarez proved to be the decisive factor between the two sides, and the Liverpool striker has the expectation of a nation on his shoulders when he lines up against the Azzurri. Suarez’s extraordinary club form transpired onto the World stage when he netted a brace after returning from a knee injury. Edinson Cavani will continue to be the man who provides the striker with impeccable service, and it’ll need to be top draw, if the Uruguayans are to win.

Italy looked set to wrap up qualification last time out when they clashed with Costa Rica, but as they did with Uruguay, Jorge Luis Pinto’s side managed to snatch a 1-0 win, leaving shockwaves around the footballing world. Veteran midfielder Andre Pirlo continues to be the glittering figure in the Italian squad. Even at the age of 35, the Juventus playmaker continues to dominate opposition in the centre of the park and Cesare Prandelli hopes he can conjure up some more magical moments and steer his squad to victory. Mario Balotelli found the net in the Azzurri’s opening match against England, but he was wasteful in front of goal last time out and he will need to be at his clinical best to overcome the Uruguayan defence.

These two nations were tipped by most people to qualify through from Group D, but as it stands only one side will make it through. Both squads have strong claims, and as the market suggests, it really is a flip of the coin that could go either way. A draw would better suit Italy, meaning Uruguay will come out and attack from the get go. But with the brilliance of Pirlo on Italy’s side, the Azzurri will be dangerous on the counter if Uruguay are short at the back. Suarez is firing on all cylinders at present, but the Italians should prove too strong in a tightly contested match.

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