LONDON COLNEY, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 14: (2R) John Terry in action with Gary Cahill, Jack Rodwell, Daniel Sturridge and Bobby Zamora during the England training session on November 14, 2011 in London Colney, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Tuesday International Friendlies: England Vs. Sweden, Italy Vs. Uruguay And More

With three of the four Euro 2012 Qualifying playoff ties already decided, Tuesday's international friendlies in Europe might be better than the competitive matches

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Italy Vs. Uruguay, 2011 International Friendly: Fulltime, Uruguay's Early Goal Is Enough For A 1-0 Victory

At some point, when you're watching a pointless friendly between Italy and Uruguay, and caring more about the possibility of injury than the thrill of a goal, you realize it's time to turn your attention to Euro 2012 Qualifying playoffs. Or COMNEBOL World Cup qualification. Or something, anything, other than this silly kicking match.

Uruguay did all they needed to do in the third minute, when Sebastian Fernandez, assisted by Martin Carceres, left Andrea Ranocchia entirely flat-footed as he slipped the ball past Gigi Buffon. While Italy did the best they could to get back into the match, their best chances went well wide, or, surprisingly, were saved by Nando Muslera. Perhaps, since the majority of the azzurri side had played against Galatasaray goalkeeper while he was at Lazio, they anticipated it would be easy enough to find a goal -- after all, Muslera is well-known for his spastic reactions to balls approaching his net.

But even after Alvaro Pereira was sent off with his second yellow card in the 81st minute, Italy were unable to make something of the match. In sum: Uruguay found a lead, defended -- sometimes dirtily -- and the azzurri were simply never able to capitalize on their chances. Perhaps it's best if Cesare Prandelli starts examining his defensive options, or, at the very least, examining whether the Ranocchia experiment has failed, for now at least. At 23, perhaps he's not set to be a regular in the lead-up to Euro 2012.


Italy Vs. Uruguay, 2011 International Friendly: Uruguay Lead Through Sebastian Fernandez

Uruguay, even without Luis Suarez, started their friendly against Italy off with a bang. Sebastian Fernandez, standing in for four-goal Suarez (and in the absence of Diego Forlan, of course) has proved that it just might not matter which players Oscar Tabarez picks to lead la celeste -- at least, not when Andrea Ranocchia is part of their defensive opposition. Rano looked entirely lost, rooted to the spot as Fernandez rounded him and slid the ball neatly past Gigi Buffon.

Italy responded with plenty of pressure, but they simply can't get their shots on target. Pablo Osvaldo had an excellent chance from a Mario Balotelli corner, but his header went just wide of the post. A bit later, Mario Balotelli tried a tricky little move, tumbling to the ground but still managing to spin around and kick the ball goalwards. An easy save for Nando Muslera, however.

Can we please remember, boys, that this is a friendly, and play accordingly? I'm tired of looking up and seeing players important to their teams rolling around on the ground.


Italy Vs. Uruguay, 2011 International Friendly: Lineups

It's here! A most exciting match in the list of matches that do not matter: Italy hosting Uruguay in an attempt to answer that all-important question: which sky-blue team is the bluest of the blue? Will it be the azzurri, featuring SuperMario Balotelli paired up front with Roma's Pablo Osvaldo? Or will it be la celeste, with the deadly double of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, who is likely still buzzing from his four goals against Chile?

Then, of course, there are those who are simply hoping for no injuries from this purported friendly. Remember, defenders: no breaking anyone's leg, ok? Grazie and gracias.

Italy Starting XI: Gigi Buffon; Christian Maggio, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Ranocchia, Federico Balzaretti; Andrea Pirlo; Daniele De Rossi, Claudio Marchisio; Riccardo Montolivo; Pablo Osvaldo, Mario Balotelli.

Uruguay Starting XI: Fernando Muslera; Martin Cáceres, Diego Lugano, Diego Godín, Alvaro Pereira; Cristian Rodriguez, Diego Pérez, Egidio Arévalo, Maxi Pereira, Sebastian Fernandez y Edinson Cavani


France Vs. Belgium, 2011 International Friendly: France Look To Close Book On Unbeaten Year

France are, thus far, unbeaten in 2011 and only this match with Belgium stands between Les Bleus and a perfect year. Belgium are high on confidence and will be looking to ruin Frances plans for perfection.


Germany Vs. Netherlands, 2011 International Friendly: Potential Euro 2012 Final Preview

Two of Europe's top international sides will be looking to gain a mental edge over the other heading into this summer's Euro 2012 competition.


Slovenia Vs. USA, 2011 International Friendly: Time For The USMNT To Show Growth

Jurgen Klinsmann's U.S. team isn't desperate for a win against Slovenia, but they are desperate to show they have improved and are growing


Italy Vs. Uruguay, 2011 International Friendly: Please, No Injuries.

Uruguay and Italy meet in what many might consider a "pointless friendly." Here's hoping that no injuries occur, as the likes of Liverpool, Napoli, Juventus and Roma would have trouble challenging for titles without their most impressive players.

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