Italy and Uruguay will hope to end their FIFA Confederations Cup campaign on a high when they meet in the third-place play-off on Sunday.
Uruguay saw their bid for a maiden Confederations Cup title ended by a 2-1 defeat to hosts Brazil on Wednesday, 24 hours prior to Italy losing to Spain in a marathon penalty shoot-out in the other semi-final.
Walter Tabarez’s men are now looking to go one better than their fourth-placed finish at the 1997 edition of the tournament by winning at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.
Their chances of doing so will surely rest on the shoulders of Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, who has netted on three occasions in four games in Brazil.
Italy’s main threat at the tournament had been two-goal forward Mario Balotelli, but the 22-year-old was forced to withdraw ahead of the clash with Spain due to injury.
However, Cesare Prandelli’s men have shared the goals out throughout the competition, with their eight strikes thus far coming from six different scorers – including one own-goal.
The two teams last met in a 2011 friendly, when a third-minute Sebastian Fernandez strike led Uruguay to a 1-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico.
The South Americans have won three of their eight encounters with Italy, with a further three ending in draws, while the four-time World Cup winners have emerged victorious twice.
The importance of striking a psychological blow ahead of the teams potentially meeting again in Brazil in a year’s time at the World Cup is likely to mean that both head into the match keen to sign off on a winning note.
And Prandelli says that Italy will not change their philosophy, despite the heart-breaking manner of the defeat against Spain.
He said: “We were convinced about how we needed to play, in both technical and tactical terms (against Spain), and I’m certain that we need to keep persevering.
“We proved that we have the quality to battle it out with the best.”
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