NATAL, BRAZIL: Uruguay kept their World Cup dream alive with a 1-0 win over Italy in Natal on Tuesday that sent the four-time champions crashing out of the competition.
Diego Godin scored the winning goal nine minutes from time against Italy, for whom Claudio Marchisio was sent-off, to take second place in Group D behind Costa Rica, who secured top spot with a 0-0 draw against England.
In a fractious and bad-tempered match, Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini accused Uruguay striker Luis Suarez of biting him on the shoulder.
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini shows his shoulder, claiming he was bitten by Uruguay's Luis Suarez. PHOTO: REUTERS
The first half was instantly forgettable although Gianluigi Buffon made a brilliant double save, first coming out to block Suarez's effort from a tight angle and then jumping up to produce a stunning one-handed reaction parry to deny Nicolas Lodeiro.
The first half was notable more for fraying tempers and play-acting.
Italy forward Mario Balotelli almost replicated German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher's infamous head-high knee challenge on France forward Patrick Battiston from the 1982 World Cup when he clattered into Alvaro Pereira, who had also been briefly knocked unconscious in the previous match with England.
Meanwhile, Italy's strapping centre-back Chiellini was twice guilty of rolling around on the floor clutching his face for no obvious reason.
Italy, who would have gone through with a draw, suffered a crucial blow when Marchisio was shown a straight red for stamping down on Egidio Arevalo's shin.
Uruguay started to turn the screw and Buffon made another brilliant one-handed stop to deny Suarez 24 minutes from time.
Chiellini and Suarez then both flopped to the ground holding their faces after a coming together, after which the Italian defender pulled his shirt off his shoulder to show the referee, believing he was Suarez's latest bite-victim.
But then Godin had the last word, heading home a corner as Italy crashed out for the second finals in a row in the group stages.
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