Godin revels in Uruguay win
Diego Godin provided much of the inspiration for Atletico Madrid in their Primera Liga title-winning campaign and he is making the difference for Uruguay at the World Cup.
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His goal on the last league game of the 2013-14 season against Barcelona secured a 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp and the club's first championship in 18 years.
On Tuesday, the defender was at it again when he scored Uruguay's winner in a do-or-die game against Italy.
The 1-0 triumph allowed Uruguay to finish second in Group D and set up a last-16 meeting with Colombia on Saturday at the Maracana.
"I'm delighted for the triumph, for the goal and for this beautiful time we are going through," Godin said to Uruguay newspaper Ovacion. "We have worked so hard and our feeling is the same as the three million Uruguayans back home."
With the score 0-0 and Uruguay playing in numerical superiority following Italy's Claudio Marchisio's straight red, Godin powered the ball into the net off his head and shoulder with nine minutes to go.
"I hit it with my shoulder, with my head, with my ear... with everything I had," the 28-year-old said. "When I saw it going in, I started to shout."
The win, Uruguay's second in the tournament after their 2-1 triumph over England, was fully deserved, according to Godin.
"I thought we were better than Italy," he said. "We searched for the victory with intensity and we didn't despair despite the fact that Italy only needed to hold onto a draw.
"We had several clear opportunities, we didn't make them but in the end, we found the goal almost at the end."
Godin and Uruguay, coached by Oscar Tabarez, take on Group C winners Colombia next, a team that has won all three of their games so far in Brazil.
"We now have to think about our next rival," Godin said. "This is the World Cup.
"You have to move on regardless of whether you win or you lose."
Italy head home following a hugely disappointing tournament aware that coach Cesare Prandelli and Italy's football chief Giancarlo Abete will not continue in their respective roles.
They both tendered their resignations after the game.
For the first time in 48 years, the Azzurri have failed in successive World Cups to get beyond the group stages.
"It's a very sad time for us as a group and as individuals," Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon said to www.figc.it. "We started the tournament well but perhaps we had too many expectations after our opening win."
The Italians beat England 2-1 in their opener but fell 1-0 against Costa Rica prior to Tuesday's group decider.
Italy only needed a point against Uruguay to reach the knock-out round.
"We faced the harsh reality, that of a team that has not scored in the last two games and created little," Buffon said. "We've deservedly gone out.
"The referee did not give us a hand but you cannot always blame others."
Italy felt hard done by the officiating of Mexico's Antonio Rodriguez Moreno.
Moreno handed Marchisio his marching orders before the hour mark after the Juventus midfielder had caught Egidio Arevalo Rios just below the knee with his studs.
With the score locked at 0-0, Italy felt Uruguay's Luis Suarez should have been sent off when the Liverpool striker appeared to bite defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder.
"It's a disgrace," Chiellini said to www.figc.it. "The game was decided by the referee.
"Suarez bit me and the referee saw it but if there's no will...
"The game was conditioned by the officiating."