Italy

Uruguay

Play by play

FT: Italy 0 – 1 Uruguay || Well, that was … um … interesting. Former Uruguayan international and current Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said, prior to the World Cup, that this Uruguayan team would do anything to win. And I believed him. But I never thought that “anything” would include Luis Suarez biting someone. AGAIN. But here we are with another “Luis Suarez chewed someone in front of a TV audience” moment. After the incident, the game turned and Diego Godín scored, but the only thing we’ll remember about this game is the bite. Italy will remember it, too. But they’ll also remember this as a lost opportunity. They were 10 minutes away from going to the second round. That has to be as hard to swallow as the chunk of Giorgio Chiellini that Suarez ate. So, in the next round, we’ll see Uruguay against Colombia, an all-South American affair. 

This is the best way I can think of closing this live blog out. Here’s Pirlo’s face. Thanks for joining. Now I need to go to counseling to get out all of my feels from this bite incident. I can’t believe what just happened. 

Buffon comes up for a corner. Pirlo plays a free kick from just inside the Uruguayan half and it flies over Buffon’s head. Buffon is playing in midfield now. This is crazy and sad. This could be the last we see of Buffon for Italy … and he’s playing in midfield. I know, Italy fan. I know.

There will be lots of these going around soon. Meanwhile, Suarez is trying to chip Buffon from midfield. 

Post-Suarez chomp and Godín goal, Suarez has tried to take on the entire Italian team. I’m talking trying to score goals, not fighting. He will be the most hated man outside of Uruguay forever after this. The game has opened up since, oddly. Instead of playing cautiously against 10 men, the Uruguayans have gone on the attack, which has opened up space for Pirlo and co. Strange, indeed.

CHOMP REWIND: OMG, OMG, OMG. So let’s do this. First, chomp evidence:

Second piece of chomp evidence:

Third piece shows Suarez getting “injured,” hysterically:

Fourth piece. Giorgio Chiellini shows the evidence.

In summary, OMG, Luis Suarez bit someone again. OMG.

Uruguay captain Diego Godín, post-bite, rises to head a corner past Buffon and it’s 1-0 Uruguay! Uruguay, as it stands, are going through! What a few minutes of madness.

OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini in the box. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. He bit him on his shoulder.

The Uruguayan fans think they have this. And to push their team on, they’re waving around the extra shirts they brought to the stadium. 

This is interesting. Brazil’s David Luiz has shown up to this game in a poor Italy disguise.

Another moment from the baker’s apprentice, Verratti. He’s at the top of the Uruguayan box and plays Ciro Immobile in, but Immobile’s offside. You know how, when a whistle blows, players continue the play? They either shoot the ball or try a trick shot. Something. Well, Immobile launched the ball into the stratosphere. And I think that was a legitimate shot. He has to leave. That’s unacceptable.

REWIND: Claudio Marchisio’s red card. *plays sad tuba music*

Wow. Suarez picks up a ball at the top of the box after it squirts out from Cavani’s possession. And that’s where the slippery Suarez is the most dangerous. He wiggles his way into the box and hits a shot with the outside of his right foot. Buffon is down quickly and gets his right paw on the the shot. Buffon shows his experience and that, for an 87-year-old man, he still has amazing reflexes.

Claudio Marchisio is shown a straight red! He goes into a tackle with Egidio Arévalo Ríos with his studs up and stomps on his right knee. I’ve seen worse, but it’s hard to argue that it’s well within the referee’s right to show a red for that kind of dangerous tackle. Italy will play this one out with 10 men.

Cristian Rodríguez takes off down the left flank and plays a snazzy one-two with Suarez, who releases him into the box. His shot goes just wide-left of Buffon’s goal. Here’s his reaction. I told you: lots of laying down going on over here. 

Cavani had an episode on the ground recently as well. This hasn’t been the most entertaining of games, so I understand how Cavani might want to take break to see if he can fly. UPDATE: He can’t. At least not yet. 

I do hope that this young man, who was outside the stadium today, found tickets. Nice use of Instagram, my friend. Al Gore would be proud. 

Meanwhile, on the bench, Mario Balotelli sad face is happening. If this doesn’t make your heart sink, you have no feels. No feels at all. We can’t hang out. 

Stoppage in play for an injury to Martín Cáceres, the man with the tightest shirt in the world. He gets a little ribbing and needs attention, but is back up after some witchcraft from the physios. We’re back at it again.

WE’RE OFF FOR THE SECOND HALF! Italy have pulled Balotelli, presumably because of injury or being completely ineffective, and brought on Marco Parolo, who hasn’t played much for Italy.

Guess who’s in town for this game, guys! It’s our favorite non-profit executive! Shout out to non-profits fighting the good fight! This guy knows what it’s like to bring your own lunch to work every day.

This is how bad the economy is right now. You can afford a World Cup ticket, but not a jersey. The struggle is real, I tell you.

HT: Italy 1 – 0 Uruguay || Here’s what this half had: people in the “nap” position, lovely touches in midfield, and few compelling chances. “THAT’S WHY I HATE SOCCER!” Don’t bring that over here. Keep that to yourself. There’s 45 minutes left to determine who will advance out of this group with Costa Rica. Neither team has carved out that clear cut opportunity to grab the advantage, but I don’t doubt for a minute that there are players on the field of sufficient quality to make something happen after the teams emerge from the locker rooms. In the meantime, Pirlo and Cavani switched shirts after the halftime whistle. They are now shirtless. But don’t worry, they aren’t switching teams for the second half. This is the World Cup, not a testimonial.

Too many picutures of people on the ground to share. The last was Italy’s Chiellini after “contact” from Cavani in the box. Again. Well, that was the last time, until, mid-sentence, Matteo Darmian fell over and stayed down, apparently because he loves laying in grass, because he wasn’t touched. Someone needs to call halftime. Anyone. The referee, maybe.

But let me ask you this: Does this look familiar? The baker and the baker’s apprentice obviously bake in the same shop.

Get some of this. Here’s the apprentice, Marco Verratti, showing that he can run his own shop. He’s all, “I can make 78-grain bread out of recycled bike parts, too, dad!” Pirlo nods in approval. 

Header revenge. I don’t like seeing this, but karma perhaps, right? This time it’s Diego Godín who goes up for a header over Balotelli. This is what it looked like:

This was the result:

Italian goalkeeper Gigi Buffon stuffs Suarez! The play starts on the left side of the Italian box with Cristian Rodríguez, who has had some great touches in midfield today. Rodríguez plays the ball to a checking Nicolás Lodeiro, who quickly completes the combination by playing Suarez through. Suarez only has Buffon to beat from the left side of the goal, but Buffon, my favorite Alice Cooper look-a-like, is quick off his line to make sure the threat is snuffed out. Italy is safe for now. The team, not necessarily the country.

I’m not here to judge. I’m just here to give you information. You judge. I won’t judge you for it.

As much credit as we/I/everyone give(s) to Pirlo, not enough goes to his apprentice, PSG’s Marco Verratti. Verratti just dribbled several Uruguayan players at midfield before knocking a pass out wide. Nothing happened, but you should know that he’s a delightful player with delicate feet, and one day, he’s going to open his own bakery. 

REWIND: Here’s Balotelli’s foul.

Balotelli goes up for a header, but—and this is important—Álvaro Pereira’s head is in the way. And that’s a problem. That’s also a yellow card, which means Balotelli, if Italy advance, will be out of their Round of 16 game. You may rememeber Álvaro Pereira’s head from being knocked out against England. So yeah, he’s back, too. That doesn’t make me feel great.

Stadium costumes have changed significantly over the years. Somewhere, a parent is outraged. 

The Italians have gotten the better of play thus far, although we haven’t yet had that OMG WHAT A CHANCE HOW COULD YOU MISS THAT THAT’S CRAYZEEEE moment. There’s plotting and sniffing from midfield from both sides, but not much else. However, if you look at the runs being made up top, I’d argue that Cavani and Suarez are looking a bit sharper and more decisive than Balotelli and Ciro Immobile, who’ve barely played together.

We get it. You like Luis Suarez.

Our resident baker, Pirlo, has a free kick outside the box. He forces Fernando Muslera into a relatively easy save, but you can at least see how dangerous Pirlo can be on free kicks. He’s the best baker-playmaker-free kick taker in the world. Yup. That rhymes. 

A free kick to Uruguay. Suarez, who has woken from his slumber, whips a ball into the box. Buffon ultimately gets his paws on the ball, but it doesn’t go far. Giorgio Chiellini and Álvaro González challenge for a header in the box. The result is Chiellini in this position. There have been a lot of bodies on the ground. This won’t be the last time we see this.

There’s not much happening in terms of chances created. Suarez, though, perhaps trying to channel Balotelli, has also had his moment on the ground. This might be a greater concern as he came to Brazil not fully fit. But Suarez will play through anything today. Or maybe he’s resting. He’s a cunning figure, that Suarez.

Uruguay boss Óscar Tabárez clearly is taking this game lightly. 

Balotelli races down the center of the field but Cristian Rodríguez and Egidio Arévalo Ríos collapse on him. The result is Balotelli on the ground, and then hobbling around. I think he’ll survive.

In case you need to identify these people, Pirlo is on the right, and his bakery apprentice, Marco Verratti, is on the left.

AND WE ARE OFF IN NATAL!

Uruguayan forward Cavani hugs an Italian player. Luis Suarez is not remotely impressed. Does he look impressed to you? Suarez is an assassin. Assassins don’t hug people, unless they’re hugging you to end you.

And Uruguay. Jorge Drexler’s “Universos Paralelos” doesn’t quite feel like Luis Suarez. In fact, this song may feel like the antithesis of Luis Suarez—it’s soothing, nice, and predictable. It also probably has never taken a bite out of anyone during a soccer game. But that may be a little unfair to Suarez. While Suarez has a reputation for madness—although he has calmed significantly this year—I have a feeling that something light and playful, like “Universos Paralelos,” is playing in his head while he’s dancing around defenders and scoring for fun.

If you’re new to these parts, you know that we decided long ago to forego inserting national anthems into the live blogs. That’s because you’re never going to listen to a 5th grade band playing “God Save the Queen.” Instead, we’ve been picking sounds from the competing nations to serve as anthems. But today, I’m going to throw in a little twist to my selections. I’m going to pick music that I believe plays in the respective heads of star players for Italy and Uruguay. For Italy, the man at the center of this exercise is the rugged, philosopher-playmaker Andrea Pirlo, the man who looks like he makes bread from recycled bike parts in Brooklyn. There’s no doubt that his brain is filled with Andrea Bocelli. So here’s your Italia anthem: “Con te Partiro.”

If you need some information to be dangerous at the water cooler, I have one-minute previews of the teams. If you’re good at nonsense, you impress your friends for several days with nuggets from these Oscar-winning shorts. Here’s Italy:

And while you’re at it, have a go at Uruguay. But be sure to drink water before you view, though. I don’t want you to dehydrate.

Mexico’s Marco Rodriguez has been selected to officiate today’s meaningful encounter. According to FIFA, his hobbies include music, cycling, swimming, and reading the Bible. We still have not confirmed whether he does all of these simultaneously, which would be pretty impressive. Then again, I’m easy to impress. 

You may be interested in the last names of the players who’ll be running around out there for our pleasure. I can help you with that. Behold.

The first thing to point out about Group D is that Costa Rica are sitting pretty on top of the group with 6 points. That is crazy. Like crazy crazy. The only team that not a single human selected to top this group before the tournament started was Costa Rica. No one selected Costa Rica. I can say that without even fact checking the statement. With England already packed up for the flight back to Heathrow, I assume, that leaves Italy and Uruguay to fight it out for the last spot in the group. As it stands, both are on 3 points. A win guarantees advancement to the next round. This guy knows how important this game is, which may explain why he brought an extra Pirlo to the stadium.

Today’s matchup between the Italians and the Uruguayans, at Estádio das Dunas in Natal, has all the trappings of a magical encounter. On paper. Some of the biggest names in the game will be running around today, trying to qualify for the next round. All for your pleasure. Some of those names include Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli, Claudio Marchisio, Luis Suarez, and Edson Cavani. There’s so much talent on both teams, but they’ll only have 90 minutes to make the case that they should be the ones to stick around in Brazil. Well, stick around to play soccer.