It may not be as exciting as a championship game, but Uruguay and Italy will bring plenty of quality to the Confederations Cup third-place game on Sunday.
Uruguay is trying to recover from a tough 2-1 loss to Brazil in the semifinals. While the team played well, it couldn't capitalize on early opportunities, namely Diego Forlan's penalty kick that was saved by Julio Cesar.
Meanwhile, Italy has to rebound from a heart-wrenching loss in penalties to Spain. This will be far from a full-strength Italian side, as Mario Balotelli and Ignazio Abate had previously been declared finished for the tournament with injuries. In addition, Andrea Pirlo and Andrea Barzagli have been ruled out for the final, and Alberto Gilardino is unlikely to play as well.
Let's take a closer look at the third-place game.
When: Sunday, June 30 at noon ET
Where: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil
What They're Saying
You may think that Italy would be emotionally spent after a brutal loss in penalty kicks to Spain in the semifinals, but the team is more positive about the result than you might think.
It is only natural that Cesare Prandelli and his valiant charges harbour some regrets after being denied a final spot by Spain. After all, a gruelling encounter was only decided by the very narrowest of margins. Regardless, the overall vibe in the Squadra Azzurra is one of satisfaction after a job well done, as testified to by several Italian players speaking exclusively to FIFA.com.
First to speak was defender Leonardo Bonucci who, despite his decisive miss in the shoot-out, was clearly content with the lessons learned at Brazil 2013. "Taking everything into account, we're pleased because we really gave the world champions a difficult time," said the Juventus man. "We've laid some good foundations for next year's World Cup and what we need to do now is to persevere and keep working the way we've been doing."
Uruguay Player to Watch: Luis Suarez
You get the feeling that Italy will probably end up holding more possession in this game, with Uruguay looking to remain sturdy in defense and strike quickly on the counterattack. With a three-pronged forward line of Suarez, Forlan and Edinson Cavani, Uruguay is capable of striking at any moment.
But Suarez is the most explosive of the three. While his free kick against Spain remains one of the better goals of the Confederations Cup and he did score twice against Tahiti, his tournament in general has been unremarkable.
With a squad at less than full strength, Italy is ripe for a defeat. It's time for Suarez to take hold of a game and dominate. If he does, Uruguay won't lose to this Italian side.
Italy Player to Watch: Stephan El Shaarawy
While it remains to be seen if El Shaarawy will get the start in this contest, it would be a surprise if he sat on the bench with Balotelli out and Gilardino unlikely to play.
The AC Milan youngster needs to have a cracker, both for himself and for his country. He has made just one appearance in this tournament so far after being relegated to the bench amidst character concerns from Italian manager Cesare Prandelli.
But without several of its stars, Italy will need the forward to offer a bit of brilliance in this contest. He's capable of doing so, having scored 16 goals in Serie A play this season. Keep a close eye on the man with the giant mohawk in this match.
Italy may be a deep side, but it's hard to see the team overcoming injuries to Balotelli and Pirlo. Uruguay has progressively played better throughout this tournament, and the 2-1 loss against Brazil was a bit unlucky.
Uruguay wins this contest, 1-0.
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