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.

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