Win and you're in, Azzurri. Get a draw and you're in, And if you lose? Well, then you're on a plane back to Italy and watching sixteen other teams try and win the World Cup trophy you had your heart set on these past weeks upon months and probably years.
Italy have been good (against England). Italy have also been quite bad (against Costa Rica). But now they're in a position where another bad games sees them booking plane tickets home, not to another destination in Brazil to prepare for their first knockout round opponent.
Doesn't exactly sound like a nice and relaxing 90-plus minutes of football, huh? Time to grab that spare paper bag just in case Italy goes all whacky and gets your heart rate going even more than usual.
Italy go into this afternoon's decisive group stage game against Uruguay coming off a terrible loss. Not because losing suddenly killed their tournament chances, but because it made today's game a lot more important than it could — or should — have been. A negative result against Costa Rica has forced Italy to go into scramble mode, with manager Cesare Prandelli set to roll out an Antonio Conte-esque 3-5-2 formation with the Juventus block being the spine of the team.
Hopefully it pays off like it did two years ago in the Euros. If not, Mr. Prandelli is going to have a lot of 'splainin' to do.
Here goes nothing, ladies and gents. Release the ImmoBalo, I guess. Please win, guys.
Group D: Italy vs. Uruguay — 1 p.m. local time, 12 p.m. on the East Coast, 9 a.m. on the West Coast
Group D: Costa Rica vs. England — 1 p.m. local time, 12 p.m. on the East Coast, 9 a.m. on the West Coast
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