By RYAN TOLMICH
Diego Godin seems to have a fondness for scoring big goals in hugely important matches.
Godin’s thumping 81st minute header led Uruguay to a 1-0 victory over 10-man Italy, sealing Uruguay’s place in the tournament’s knockout round while also dooming Italy to an early exit. Godin’s finish off of substitute Gaston Ramirez’s corner may have sent the Uruguayans through, but it was what happened just before it that will be the game’s lasting memory.
Uruguay star Luis Suarez found himself in yet another controversial incident just one minute prior to Godin’s finish. The Uruguayan forward jostled with Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, with the latter claiming that he had been bitten by the star striker. The accusations would mark the third biting incident surrounding Suarez since the last World Cup, although the referee took no action.
La Celeste benefitted from the Italians being down a man due to a Claudio Marchisio red card in the 59th minute. The Juventus midfielder was sent off for a tackle on Arévalo Rios, as Marchisio placed his studs up high in a tackle on the Uruguyan shortly after losing the ball.
Prior to Marchisio’s sending off, the former World Cup champions were very much in control of the game, as the Azzurri needed only a draw to progress to the next round. Even after going down to ten men, Italy appeared to be the stronger side until the Suarez incident sent the game into a frenzy, leading to Godin’s game-winning header.
With the win, Uruguay progress to the knockout rounds, where they will take on either Colombia or the Ivory Coast. Meanwhile, Italy fail to make the knockout stage in back-to-back tournaments for the first time since 1966.