Diego Godin’s late strike sent Uruguay to the second round of the World Cup and eliminated ten-man Italy out of the tournament.
Claudio Marchisio was sent off for an ugly challenge on Egidios Rios with 30 minutes to go.
Captain Godin’s late header made the difference in Natal as ‘La Celeste’ finished runners-up of Group D, behind Costa Rica, who played out to a goalless draw with the already ousted England in the other game.
Luis Suarez had tangled with Giorgio Chiellini moments before the goal and the Italy defender then claimed the striker had bitten him.
Italy came into the match aware that a defeat would out-rightly rule them out of the last-16.
The opening 20 minutes of the encounter accounted for 12 free-kicks, owing to some ferocious tackles and terrible challenges, which not until the 23rd minute rarely deserved punishment by Marco Rodriguez.
Italy’s first chance arrived a minute after the half-hour mark as an unmarked Ciro Immobile let fly a shot from inside the Uruguay goal area.
Cesare Prandelli’s men restricted Uruguay to speculative shots, while Gianluigi Buffon was alert to smother one of those from Luis Suarez after a lovely one-two, before denying Nicola Lodeiro.
Italy were cruising at the break and Uruguay needed a goal to get back into the tournament.
The referee waved play on as Leornardo Bonucci wrestled Edinson Cavani to the ground seven minutes after the interval.
The fierce tackle between both opponent was always at some point going to irritate the Mexican match official and when Marchisio raised his stud too high- for the referee’s liking- on Arevalo’s leg, he eventually got his marching order.
The South American began making the most of their one-man advantage and Suarez, away from two defenders on the edge of the Italian’s box, poked a low shot towards the bottom corner, only to see Buffon’s outstretched palm push it away.
Italy resulted to a more defensive approach and with time running out coach Oscar Tabarez was beginning to get more and more agitated in the bench.
Just into the closing ten minutes of the fierce finale, Suarez appeared to bite defender Chiellini while challenging for the ball inside his side’s penalty area, the referee was nowhere near the action so it went unpunished.
Italy players were still fuming about the incident when Uruguay won a corner and Godin rose highest to nod the resultant kick home.
Every attempt to smuggle out a point from the game were fended off by Uruguay before the referee brought the match to its climax.