Italy and Uruguay will be drawing swords against each other with qualification to the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup 2014 at stake. The match is slated to be played on Tuesday, June 24 at the Estadio das Dunas at Natal.
While a draw will be sufficient for the four-time world champions Italy, two-time title-winners Uruguay will need a victory in order to qualify for the knock-out stage. Unfortunately, whatever transpires in the 90 minutes on Tuesday, one of the former champions will exit the World Cup in the first round with Costa Rica having already secured qualification to the next stage of the tournament.
The most popular bet in terms of the result of this match is a draw on which bet365 are offering 23/10. Uruguay and Italy are both 9/5 to win in this market, such is the close nature of the contest, but with a goal-scoring Luis Suarez in the line-up, it’s difficult to see Ladbrokes’ offer of 10/1 for a 0-0 draw having any takers.
The Italians won their cup opener against England 2-1 in a hotly contested match while the Uruguayans suffered an unexpected defeat at the hands of Costa Rica. The second phase of matches in the group stage saw Costa Rica turn it on against the Italians while Uruguay won 2-1 against England. Both teams are on three points in Group D with the European side leading the South American team on goal difference.
Italy are expected to adopt a conservative approach on Tuesday as Cesare Prandelli will first look to secure the Azzuris’ passage to the next round before he tries to appease the fans with some positive football. They will also look to play a patient game as they do not really need to make things happen as long as they keep the likes of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani quiet in front of goal.
They certainly have some very good defenders in Georgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, and Leonardo Bonucci. However, as England and Costa Rica have proved, the Italian defence can be breached with proper penetration. Uruguay have two great attackers in Suarez and Cavani and hence, Italy will need to defend really well.
In their last match against Costa Rica, the Azzuris struggled to create many clear cut opportunities. Although Andrea Pirlo did find Antonio Cassano with a fantastic through ball late in the second half, the striker failed to hit the target while Lorenzo Insigne wasted some good chances from good positions.
One would expect Claudio Marchisio and Daniele De Rossi to feature from the start against Uruguay and the Italians will need their experience on the day. They will also need Mario Balotelli to take the chances that he is offered with the AC Milan striker the favourite to open the scoring for Italy at 6/1 (PaddyPower). The Uruguayans have problems at the back and can be made to pay if Prandelli is brave enough to start with an attacking lineup.
Oscar Tabarez’s Uruguay will look to attack right from the word go and in Suarez, they have one of the best strikers in world football at the present time. Suarez is in great for currently having scored both the goals in his side’s win over England in their last game. Suarez is also the favourite to open the scoring for the sky blues with bet365 offering 5/1 on that score.
In Christian Rodriguez, Uruguay have another excellent player with great speed and dribbling ability who can cause havoc in the opposition defence. The former Atletico Madrid star had a couple of good opportunities against England, one of which was tantalizingly close. Being one of the more experienced players in the side, one would expect Rodriguez to stand up and be counted against the Italians on Tuesday.
Italy to qualify: 6/13 (Bwin)
Under 2.5 goals to be scored in the game: 4/5 (Sky Bet)