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World Cup: Can little Uruguay roar?

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
updated 9:41 AM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Uruguay is hoping to knock out Italy to get a place in the final 16
  • It's the smallest country in the World Cup, with a population not much bigger than Rome's
  • Uruguay striker Luis Suarez is one of the most controversial players in the sport today
  • He's been banned for biting opponents twice and for racial abuse once

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(CNN) -- Two former World Cup champions have already crashed out of contention for this year's trophy, and a third one will join them on Tuesday.

Tiny Uruguay -- arguably the country that punches the farthest above its weight in global soccer -- is hoping it won't be them.

But they need to beat Italy to get out of the group stage and into the knockout round.

Did tie end America's soccer dream?
Germany's Mario Gotze scores the goal that would decide the World Cup final Sunday, July 13, in Rio de Janeiro. Gotze, a late substitute, scored the goal in extra time as Germany won 1-0. Click through the gallery to see all the goals scored in the World Cup. Germany's Mario Gotze scores the goal that would decide the World Cup final Sunday, July 13, in Rio de Janeiro. Gotze, a late substitute, scored the goal in extra time as Germany won 1-0. Click through the gallery to see all the goals scored in the World Cup.
Goooal! Keeping score at the World Cup
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Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, left, and coach Miguel Herrera celebrate a goal by their team during a World Cup match against Croatia on Monday, June 23, in Recife, Brazil. Mexico won 3-1. Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, left, and coach Miguel Herrera celebrate a goal by their team during a World Cup match against Croatia on Monday, June 23, in Recife, Brazil. Mexico won 3-1.
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Italy has won the World Cup four times and been runner-up twice, but Uruguay has won it twice themselves.

Ahead of the crunch match, here are some numbers that might surprise you:

Size of Uruguay's population: About 3.3 million people, making it the smallest country in the World Cup this year. That's not many more than Italy's capital, Rome.

Number of times Uruguay refused to defend its World Cup title: One. Uruguay hosted, and won, the very first World Cup, back in 1930. Four years later, the South Americans refused to travel to Italy for the World Cup because the Italians didn't come to South America in 1930. Uruguay is the only champion that didn't defend its crown.

Uruguay's record against Italy: They've won three, lost two and drawn four against Italy. Uruguay has scored 10 goals against Italy. Italy has scored nine against Uruguay.

Star striker Luis Suarez is one of the most controversial players in the world today.

He's been banned from matches for biting opponents -- twice! -- and for racially abusing them.

Number of games Suarez has been banned from for biting: 17. (Seven in 2010 when he was Ajax, and 10 in 2013 at Liverpool.)

Number of games Suarez was banned from for racial abuse: Eight. He was also fined 40,000 British pounds (currently $68,000) for the comments he made to Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

And Suarez earned a red card in a 2010 World Cup match against Ghana for an intentional handball in a scrum at the goal line to keep the Africans from scoring what would have been a game-winning goal.

Uruguay's match against Italy kicks off at noon ET. Costa Rica kicks off against England at the same time. England is out of the tournament no matter what happens Tuesday, while Costa Rica, the surprise powerhouse of World Cup 2014, is hoping to secure the top place in Group D.

Here's a quick catch-up on which teams have already qualified for the knockout stage and which ones cannot:

Through:

Brazil

Mexico

Netherlands

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Argentina

Belgium

Out:

Croatia

Spain

Australia

Cameroon

England

Honduras

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Read: Neymar inspires Brazil

World Cup schedule of matches

CNN's Patrick Sung contributed to this report.

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