An unexpected English collapse, and an equally as shocking Costa Rican surge, has left the two football powerhouses of Italy and Uruguay mired in a tense battle for advancement to the next stage of this year’s World Cup.
The Italians looked solid in their opening match against the English, but a sluggish effort against Costa Rica has left them in a desperate spot entering their final game against Uruguay. Italy is used to being in these precarious positions however, and that experience may just propel them through to the round of 16. One player they’ll be without the services of is key Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi. The important man in the middle plays a vital holding role for the Italians, and his absence against Costa Rica was quite apparent. He’ll miss out against Uruguay as well and it remains to be seen if manager Cesare Prandelli can draw up a gameplan to have Italy survive in his absence.
Uruguay looked abysmal in their first encounter in Brazil against Costa Rica. They looked slow and sluggish, and it seemed like their run in 2010 was somewhat of a fluke. However against England it was a totally different side. The Uruguayans were clinical and opportunistic, and much of that can be attributed to their top striker Luis Suarez. His two goals vaulted Uruguay into a favourable position, but they still face an uphill battle to advancement. With Costa Rica already moving on, it’s up to Uruguay to beat Italy to progress. A draw does them no good in what promises to be a thrilling conclusion to Group D action.
Italy vs. Uruguay Betting Odds:
Italy (+165) / Draw (+230) /. Uruguay (+170)
Over 2.5 (+110) / Under 2.5 (-130)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Italy vs. Uruguay Prediction:
While the Italians haven’t really shown it of late, and even without Daniele De Rossi, they remain a premier defensive squad. Their defenders and midfielders are expert markers and their ball retention can control the tempo of a match and wear down their opposition. With just one point being all they need, expect the Italians to make what promises to be an exciting encounter, a very dull battle against Uruguay. Italy will surely play for a low-scoring draw with their depleted line-p and history suggests they’ll be able to do just that.
For starters, rumours have already circulated that Italy will be reverting to a more conservative four-man backline without De Rossi. They traditionally have used three, but given the situation, the security at the back will be well-suited to match up against the likes of Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani.
The problem with Uruguay ultimately is they are far too reliant on one player – Suarez. It was one full display against England as it looked to be their only play. Similarly to the Portuguese with Cristiano Ronaldo, Uruguay needs Suarez to be brilliant every game for them to fare well. And going against a side that doesn’t make many mistakes and possess a very solid back-line, don’t bank on the Italians giving the game away to Suarez like England did. Uruguay was out-possessed 32 to 68 against England, a clear indicator this team isn’t very good. The Italians still have Andrea Pirlo anchoring the midfield, and expect him and his mates in the middle to put on a ball-holding clinic against the South Americans.
Ultimately, look for the Italians to make this a fairly dull and cagey encounter. Though it’s a match between two football powerhouses, vying for one spot in a do-or-die situation, it does not have the makings for a classic. A defensively-oriented Italian side should do enough to manage a much-needed point against a one-dimensional Uruguayan side that doesn’t deserve to be in this position. The Under 2.5 looks like a good wager in this Group D decider.
PICK = Under 2.5 (-130)