A header by defender Diego Godín after a corner kick sealed the fate of the match: Uruguay beat Italy by 1-0 in front of 39,706 fans in the Dunas Arena, in Natal.
The triumph earned Uruguay second place in Group D (with six points) and a place at the round of sixteen against the first place of Group C, which will be decided today at the 5 PM matches and played at the Maracanã on 28 June. On the other match of the group's final round, Costa Rica tied with England on a goalless match and ended their participation in Group D as the lead, with seven points.
Uruguayan fans showed up en masse, and urged the team forward with massive energy from the stands. As expected, the match began with intense defence efforts, lots of movement and little room to create plays with. Italy had more possession in the first half (58%) and went into half-time with a draw that would qualify it to the round of sixteen.
Both teams started the second half with substitutions: Maxi Pereira replaced Lodeiro in Uruguay, and Parolo replaced Balotelli in Italy.
At the 61st minute, Marchisio was expelled for a hard foul on Arévalo Ríos.
With one less player in the pitch and with the score on their side, the Italians retreated to the defence. Tensions heightened during the game at the 74th minute: during an attack by the Uruguayans, the referee ruled a foul on Chiellini and the defender claimed to have been bitten by the Uruguayan striker.
Uruguay’s goal came quickly after that, at the 77th minute. Ramirez took a corner kick, defender Godín rose higher than the defence and shouldered the ball into Buffon's net.
The final minutes were all about Italian pressure for the draw goal. The referee ruled for five minutes of injury time, during which even goalkeeper Buffon could be seen in the Uruguayan box, but in the end the score prevailed as it was and the Italians are now going on an early trip home after the group phase.