2014 World Cup: Luis Suarez, Mario Balotelli Key To Italy vs. Uruguay

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As it stands right now, Italy are in second place in Group D over Uruguay based simply on goal differential. Uruguay need to score one more goal than the Italians in a winning effort to advance — it’s as simple as that. The loss to Costa Rica in the first game put Uruguay in a large hole goal-wise causing Uruguay to slowly crawl back ever since. The same goes for Italy, as falling at the unlikely hands of Costa Rica has put the Italians in an uncomfortable position. You have to love the CONCACAF, am I right? All jokes aside, the objective is clear cut; a draw will advance the Italians and send Luis Suarez and Uruguay back to Montevideo.

The obvious keys to the game are Suarez and Mario Balotelli. I’m not going out on a limb to make that statement. Both teams will need to have their strikers playing their best football as soon as they take the field in Natal. Suarez has been a menace — just ask England. Even having an average match, finding two goals will definitely boost your match rating. Suarez will need to bring every bit of intensity that he had in the England game to this one because Uruguay need to win. Without a win, the capital city of Montevideo will be extremely disappointed.

Balotelli is an interesting character. In the England game, he played well and scored the game-winning goal. In the second game against Costa Rica, he could not find the back of the net despite being given plenty of chances. The setup from Andrea Pirlo in the midfield and Balotelli will need to be in full force. Pirlo has a magical gift of placing perfectly-timed balls over the defense in an effort to score. This needs to be a motif for the Italians today.

With that said, I predict a 1-0 win for Uruguay putting Suarez back into the second stage for consecutive World Cups.

Collin Ruby is a Soccer Writer for RantSports.com, follow him on Twitter @Collin_Ruby

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