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Weather worry for Italy

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

NATAL, Brazil - Four-time champions Italy admitted they are struggling with the weather conditions ahead of their clash with Uruguay in Natal today where they will try to avoid being eliminated in the first round at successive World Cups.

A win for the South Americans would send Cesare Prandelli's side crashing out at the first hurdle, four years after bowing out at the group stage as then world champions in South Africa.

The Azzurri require just a draw to go through.

After a lifeless display in a 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica, captain Gianluigi Buffon hinted the hot and humid conditions have taken their toll.

"Once we've finished training today we'll see what kind of condition we are in," said Buffon.

"I think a lot of European teams are struggling compared to the Latin Americans.

"But that isn't an excuse. The climate is the same for all of our opponents."

If there is belief that Latin Americans sides are coping better than teams from Europe in such a testing climate, Group D is arguably a good indicator.

Costa Rica host England looking for their third consecutive group win.

They fought back from a goal down to stun Uruguay 3-1, before outplaying a visibly jaded Italy in Recife.

Uruguay bounced back from that shock reverse with a far improved performance to beat England 2-1 thanks to a Luis Suarez double.

With Costa Rica already through and England eliminated by the Italians' defeat in Recife, Italy and Uruguay who both have three points have been left to battle for the second qualifying spot.

Because of an inferior goal difference, Uruguay need a win.

They have a chance of repeating their exploits of 2010 when current coach Oscar Tabarez steered the 1950 champions to their first semi-finals appearance in 40 years.

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