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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Confederations Cup: Italy vs Uruguay (Italy 3-2 on Penalties)

Italy did their bit to erase the penalty shootout memories of their semi-final defeat at the hands of Spain by clinching 3rd place in the Confederations Cup, beating Uruguay 3-2 on penalties.

As I settled down to watch this game I genuinely had the feeling that I was the only person who was doing so. There was no studio, no co-commentator just a commentator and a live feed on the BBC Sport website. I think the term to describe the coverage would be minimalist.
Anyway ‘low key’ coverage aside I have to say that that was quite an entertaining game all round, we were treated to 4 goals a sending off, and some pretty decent football.

On paper the two teams looked evenly matched, and for once these paper predictions were right on the money. Straight from the off both teams looked threatening going forward and it seemed there would definitely be goals. The Italians looked dangerous when the ball was moved wide while the ‘Big 3’ for Uruguay were combing well at the other end. But despite the attacking intent on show when the 1st goal did arrive it did so in slightly strange fashion. Italy won a free kick wide on the right and Alessando Diamanti’s in-swinging effort came off the back post then off keeper Muslera only to bobble along the goal line before Astori arrived to poke the ball into the net for his 1st international goal.
As the game rolled towards half time Uruguay came back into the game but they were only really threatening from long range, and as the whistle sounded Italy remained in front and deservedly so. The start of the 2nd half was about as low key as the TV coverage as not a lot happened. That was until the 58th minute when Uruguay won the ball on the half way line and it broke to Gargano who strode forward before sliding in Cavani on the left side of the area who calmly slotted the ball around Buffon in the Italy goal into the bottom right hand corner. The goal seemed to spark Uruguay into life as they started to get on top but there progress was soon halted by Diamanti once more. This time he curled a sublime free kick from just outside the area past Muslera to quieten the pro Uruguay crowd. However the scoring was not done there and seemingly taking Diamanti’s effort as a personal affront Edison Cavani took control of a free kick 30 yards from the Italian goal and hammered it past the dive of Buffon.

And as both teams seemed to tire the referee called time on the 2nd half and we got ready for an extra 30 minutes. And sadly there were no more goals, but there was time for Riccardo Montolivo to pick up a 2nd yellow card for a foul on Suarez. And in classic Suarez style the contact was minimal. It was time for penalties.
Italy seemed to be put in charge of the shoot out early on as Diego Forlan had his spot kick saved. Italy were in control but gave the South Americans fresh hope when young left back De Sciglio saw his penalty kept out by Muslera, but instead of taking advantage Caceres shot tamely at Buffon. Giaccherini then scored and put the pressure back on Uruguay, Gargano had to score to keep them in with a chance, but he couldn’t as he too saw his effort saved.

Uruguay had again lost in 3rd place playoff game but Italy bounced back from the disappointment of their defeat at the hands of Spain, and had come 3rd, which in the grand scheme of things counts for nothing, but at least for now maybe shows they are on the right track to return to Brazil next year and challenge for the biggest prize in the game.

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