A late Diego Godin goal sent Uruguay through to the last 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, at the expense of Italy in Natal.
With the game heading for a goalless draw which would have been enough for the Italians, their captain came up trumps to seal his side’s passage as Group D runners-up.
Though the victory was marred in the end, as Luis Suarez was at the centre of a biting controversy once again, after he appeared to make contact on the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini.
A second consecutive first-round exit for the Azzurri sees Cesare Prandelli after four years in charge.
Costa Rica secured top spot in the group, following a stalemate with the already-eliminated England. The task was simple for Oscar Tabarez’s men – win or you’re out.
Following a goalless first-half, the match came to life after the break. Italy were reduced to 10 men midway through, as Claudio Marchisio left his studs late on Arevalo Rios, though Uruguay were very fortunate to still have the extra-man advantage.
Suarez once again provided a moment of sheer madness, as replays appeared to show him needlessly sinking his teeth into Chiellini much to the anger of the Italian, who immediately protested while attempting to reveal the damage done by the striker.
FIFA have already announced that they will review the incident.
Godin has already scored the goal that won La Liga for Atletico as well as another in the UEFA Champions League final, and he came up with the goods for his country with nine minutes remaining – rising highest in the area to power Gaston Ramirez’s corner past Gianluigi Buffon, though the ball went into off his shoulder rather than his head.
It proved to be enough for the jubilant South Americans, though Suarez’s celebrations were very subdued which may suggest his guilt and that he will be facing strong action from the governing body if found guilty.
Over in Belo Horizonte, group outsiders Costa Rica amazingly secured top spot as they held England.
Roy Hodgson made a total of nine changes to the side that were effectively knocked out by Uruguay, with Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge the only survivors, while Frank Lampard captained the team on what could be his final international appearance.
Although the Three Lions dominated, they were once again very wasteful in front of goal and lacked a real sense of creativity as they limped out of the tournament.
Confirmation of the final standings sees Jorge Luis Pinto’s side at the summit with seven points, one more than Uruguay in second. While another bitterly disappointing finals for Italy and England see them third with three points, and bottom of the pile with just one.
Group C concludes this evening with already-qualified Colombia up against Japan, while Greece and Ivory Coast go head-to-head.
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