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Uruguay v Italy: Exhausted Azzurri look vulnerable

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After that gruelling loss to Spain in their semi-final, Italy will struggle to pick themselves up for this play-off, writes Christian Crowther...

"Uruguay would have had the fresher legs anyhow given their match was a day previous, but that extra energy-sapping half hour, could well prove Italy's undoing."

Best Bet: Back Uruguay to win @ [2.6]


Uruguay v Italy, Sunday 17:00, BBC Three, Match Odds: Italy [2.9], Uruguay [2.6], The Draw [3.45]

Catches win the matches, goals win games and, in the wake of their agonising penalty shootout defeat to Spain, the Azzurri will be left to rue a glut of early chances spurned.

It's been a long time since any team took it to the world champions in the manner that Italy did in the opening half of their semi-final, but when you have the best in the world on the ropes, you have to knock them out.

The more chances that went begging - Claudio Marchisio and Christian Maggio's point-blank headers among the most notable - the more you got the feeling that it would come back to haunt Italy and so it proved in the cruellest fashion.

Now, somehow, Cesare Prandelli's exhausted troops must regroup for this virtually meaningless play-off.

Meanwhile, Uruguay themselves put on their best performance of the tournament during their own narrow semi-final defeat to Brazil.

Uruguay would have had the fresher legs anyhow given their match was a day previous, but that extra energy-sapping half hour, could well prove Italy's undoing.

La Celeste will definitely have the edge in what is likely to be stifling afternoon heat once more and can secure the third place that they missed out on at World Cup 2010.


Under/Over 2.5 goals

Without Mario Balotelli leading the line, the Azzurri were unable to polish off the myriad of first-half chances that they created and they'll be without the AC Milan marksman again on Sunday.

In what is likely to be suffocating heat once more and, with no more than third place at stake, it's difficult to envisage this match being played at any kind of tempo.

Having only scored once against both Spain and Brazil previously, the Uruguayans have been far from prolific at this tournament either.


Recommended Bets

Best Bet: Back Uruguay to win @ [2.6]
Back Under 2.5 goals @ [2.14]


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