For the Azzurri, red may have proved to be the most influential color at the 2014 World Cup. Italy was left lamenting one red card that was given and incensed about one that wasn't after being eliminated from contention in Brazil.
Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio was shown a straight red card for a needless kick against Uruguay's Egidio Arevalo Rios in the 59th minute of a high stakes Group D clash at Estadio das Dunas in Natal on Tuesday. Reduced to 10 men for the final half hour of the match, Italy was defeated 1-0 and eliminated from the World Cup. The match remained scoreless when Marchisio lashed out at Rios just steps from the referee.
(GIF via @FlyByKnite)
With Costa Rica having already secured one of two spots allotted in Group D in the Round of 16, one of the teams in Natal was always going to leave disappointed. At the time of the red card, it appeared that team would be Uruguay. Italy entered the match needing just a draw to advance and was in position to move on when Marchisio was sent off.
Italy would later have good reason to feel that Uruguay escaped without a red card on what appeared to be a more egregious infraction later in the match. With the game still scoreless in the 80th minute, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez appeared to bite Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini when the pair collided in the penalty area. Chiellini attempted to show the official bite marks on his shoulder after the play but Suarez was not penalized.
Just a minute after Suarez appeared to sink his teeth into Chiellini, Uruguay capitalized on its man advantage when defender Diego Godin got his head to a corner kick and directed the ball past Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. That the decisive goal came on a set piece, when numerical advantage could come into play, only highlights the significance of the red card given, and the red card not given.
"The red for Marchisio and not sending off Suarez were ridiculous," Chiellini said after the defeat, via The Associated Press. "It was absolutely clear. There's even a mark."