WC 2014: Italy can draw but Uruguay must win crunch Group D game

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Natal (Brazil), June 24: Former world champions Italy and Uruguay will take on each other in a crucial match in Group D at the Arena das Dunas here on Tuesday. For Italy, a draw will do enough to see them through along with Costa Rica who have already qualified while for Uruguay, a win is a must. England have already been eliminated.

Either of Italy and Uruguay can also top the group in case they win big against their opponents and Costa Rica lose to England in their final group match.

Italy made an impressive start to their 2014 World Cup campaign by edging past England 2-1 but failed to maintain the momentum as they lost to Costa Rica 0-1 in the next game. Coach Cesare Prandelli said his side would try to recover all energy for the crunch game against Uruguay.

Prandelli, however, might not get the service of midfielder Daniele De Rossi who picked a calf injury against Costa Rica in the last match. Borussia Dortmund-bound striker Ciro Immobile could start alongside Mario Balotelli in attack. The latter, who scored the winner against England but missed a couple of easy chances against Costa Rica, will look to set things in order.

Both Italy & Uruguay have 3 points but the former have a better goal difference

Uruguay, who will be making their 50th appearance at the World Cup today, will also look to avenge their loss against the Azzurris in the third-place play-off at the Confederations Cup in Brazil last year.
The two-time champions, who put up a good show in the 2010 edition when they finished fourth, will hope to repeat the same. Coach Oscar Tabarez said they were leaving no chances.

Italy, on the other hand, will be desperate to erase the memory of 2010 when they failed to make the Round of 16 as the defending champions. Uruguay were bolstered by the return of Luis Suarez, who were out with a knee injury to beat England 2-1 in their last game (both goals were scored by Suarez), after suffering a shock 1-3 defeat to Costa Rica in the first game. Suarez is expected to begin along with Edinson Cavani in place of Diego Forlan. Full-back Maxi Pereira will also be back after serving his one-game suspension against England.

Story first published: Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 20:51 [IST]
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