By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
SALVADOR, BRAZIL – Italy finished in third place in the FIFA Confederations Cup after defeating Uruguay 3-2 on penalties at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. An entertaining game finished in a 2-2 draw before spot-kicks decided the third placed play-off.
Italy had taken the lead through a huge slick of luck. Diamanti’s free-kick cannoned off a post and hit Uruguay goalkeeper Musrela in the back of the head before spinning over the goal-line.
The goal was to be the difference between the two sides at the interval. But, as they did against Brazil in the semi-final, Uruguay came out on the front foot in the second half.
Napoli hitman Edinson Cavani leveled early in the half before two wonderful goals doubled each side’s tally. Diamanti stepped up to take a second free-kick which showcased none of the luck of his first effort and put the Italians back in front.
Curling the effort around the wall he found the top right-hand corner of the goal beyond Musrela’s reach. Yet Cavani, on the wishlist of a host of top European clubs, showed he was not to be outdone.
He sent his own right footed effort into the back of Buffon’s net to bring the score to 2-2. The veteran goalkeeper got a palm to the ball but the venom of the strike carried the ball into the goal anyway.
Both sides tired in extra-time but Uruguay looked the more dangerous. Luís Suarez hit an effort just over the bar before Cavani had a chance to complete his hat-trick but the final effort was wayward.
In the shoot-out, Forlan missed Uruguay’s first before Italy missed their third. Then the game was decided when Cáceres and Gargano missed Uruguay’s final two kicks.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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