Italy finished 2011 with a 1-0 defeat by Copa América winners Uruguay in a friendly game in Rome.
Uruguay took the lead after only three minutes when Málaga CF forward Sebastián Fernández turned the ball in with a swing of his right boot after a good run and precise low cross by Martín Cáceres from the right. Gianluigi Buffon, today drawing level with Dino Zoff on 112 caps, could only watch.
After conceding from Uruguay's very first attack, Italy reacted well and created some good chances to equalise. Fernando Muslera was forced to punch away a powerful shot by Mario Balotelli from outside the penalty area on 16 minutes, while Pablo Daniel Osvaldo headed an Andrea Pirlo corner narrowly wide ten minutes before half-time. Balotelli also had a low shot well saved by Muslera and headed over the bar from a good position just prior to the interval.
The Azzurri raised the tempo in the second half. Only a wonderful diving save by Muslera prevented substitute Simone Pepe from equalising when he met Christian Maggio's delivery from the right. The Galatasaray AŞ goalkeeper was again up to the task when he palmed wide a close-range shot by Federico Balzaretti.
Uruguay were reduced to ten men with ten minutes left, Álvaro Pereira the man dismissed, but they held firm to condemn Cesare Prandelli's team to defeat.
Italy: Buffon; Maggio, Ranocchia, Chiellini, Balzaretti, De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio (Pazzini 82), Montolivo (Pepe 46); Osvaldo (Matri 64), Balotelli.
Uruguay: Muslera; Cáceres, Lugano (Coates 46), Godìn, Á Pereira, M Pereira (Scotti 90+2), Pérez (Eguren 51), Arevalo Rìos, C Rodríguez (González 83), Fernández (Alfaro 83), Cavani.
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