Italy cruises past Uruguay, Spain manages a draw

Italy beat Uruguay for the first time in 27 years with a comfortable 3-0 success in Nice. In another match, Spain was held to a 2-2 draw by Colombia.

Italy's Eder celebrates after scoring a goal against Uruguay in Nice on Wednesday.   -  AFP


Italy beat Uruguay for the first time in 27 years with a comfortable 3-0 success in Nice, France on Wednesday, as the South Americans’ defender Jose Gimenez had a shocker.

While this victory will be no consolation for the Italians, who were eliminated from the 2014 World Cup at the group stage after a 1-0 defeat by the South Americans, it does offer Giampiero Ventura's team a timely boost ahead of its World Cup qualifier against Lichtenstein in Udine on Sunday.

With star strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez injured, Uruguay suffer an early blow as Gimenez scored a bizarre own goal after just seven minutes.

Chasing back to challenge Andrea Belotti, who had got beyond the backline, Gimenez inadvertently volleyed the ball into the top corner after the Italian, a reported target for Manchester United, tried to control it on his chest.

Brazilian-born Eder deflected home a cross-cum-shot from Manolo Gabbiadini eight minutes from time to end Uruguay's comeback hopes, before Daniele De Rossi added gloss in injury time from the penalty spot, conceded by Gimenez.

In another match, Alvaro Morata came off the bench to salvage Julien Lopetegui's unbeaten record as Spain coach in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Colombia in Murcia.

After Edwin Cardona had cancelled out David Silva's opener for the hosts, Radamel Falcao's first international goal for two years had Colombia on course for a famous win. However, Morata made his case to start Sunday's World Cup qualifier away to Macedonia with a towering header three minutes from time to save Spain's blushes.

Lopetegui ran the risk of an adverse result as Nacho was the only Real Madrid player to start for Spain after the La Liga giants' Champions League final heroics in defeating Juventus on Saturday to retain the trophy, whilst David de Gea, Sergio Busquets and Diego Costa were also left on the bench.

Colombia boss Jose Pekerman gave James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado the chance to bounce back from their Champions League final disappointment -- Rodriguez was left out of the Real squad, whilst Juventus's Cuadrado was sent-off just 17 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

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