Archive for October 17th, 2007

Italy-South Africa, and the Situation in Group B for Euro 2008

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Italy FIGCItaly’s ‘Reserve’ team has done pretty well considering: in Wednesday’s friendly match the Azzurri obtained a 2-0 victory over South Africa, thanks to a double of Shakhtar striker Cristiano Lucarelli. The national team debuts of Alessandro Rosina and Andrea Dossena were both excellent.

However, the biggest news of the days wasn’t the good performance of the Italy B team, but rather the astonishing defeat of Scotland at the hands of Georgia in Tblisi. A welcome and unexpected result for Italy, who may then only need a tie in Glasgow in order to get their ticket for Euro 2008.
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Italy-South Africa

I apologize in advance for what I’m about to do, but sometimes my home commitments take an unexpected precedence over soccer (yes, it can happen, albeit rarely). I’m preparing to leave on holiday for 2 weeks, so writing the game report of a friendly match, even if it is about the Azzurri, is low on my priority list.

So instead of giving my usual in-detail analysis of what went on in Siena Wednesday, I’ll direct you to Martha’s summary over at Italy.TheOffside.com. Everything you need to know about the match is neatly summarized in a tight little package.
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 Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio
ITALY-SOUTH AFRICA 2-0
South African Football Association
GOALSCORERS: 83’, 90’ Lucarelli (I)
ITALY (4-2-3-1): Amelia – Zaccardo (83’ Mesto), Gamberini (62’ Dossena), Bonera, Chiellini – Montolivo (74’ Nocerino), De Rossi (69’ Palombo) – Foggia (69’ Gilardino), Rosina (86’ Semioli), Mauri – Lucarelli. (bench: Curci, P.Cannavaro). Coach: Donadoni
SOUTH AFRICA (4-4-2): Fernandez – Nzama (89’ Mere), Morris, Mokoena, Evans – Pienaar (74’ Sono), Sibaya, Modise (72’ Tshabalala), Nkosi (72’ Nomvete) – Buckley, McCarthy (85’ Fanteni). (bench: Marlin, Katza, Fransman, Mhlongo, Dikgacoi, Davids, Chenene). Coach: Parreira

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Euro 2008 Qualifiers: Group B

Euro 2008It’s far from over, but Georgia’s win over Scotland has considerably simplified the Azzurri’s situation. Chris of Roma.TheOffside.com has analyzed it eloquently.

In a twisted turn of fate though, sometimes it’s better to be forced to play for a win, rather than be satisfied with a draw. It would be a grave mistake to go to Scotland with that latter mentality, because you’re never safe from conceding a last-minute goal that will rip your heart out. FORZA AZZURRI!!!!

Coming up Thursday: an update on my whereabouts for the next two weeks, and if I manage, the news of the day.

Some Fresh Blood for Italy: Presenting the 19 Azzurri for the South Africa friendly match

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Italy FA (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio)South Africa FA (South African Football Association)

Sunday of this upcoming week-end will be a very important day for Siena, when rivals Fiorentina arrive to battle the home team in one of the biggest Tuscany derbies in Serie A. Meanwhile however, the Stadio Artemio Franchi will see a different kind of action, as the Azzurri face South Africa in a sold-out international friendly midweek fixture.

It could be easy to label the 19 Azzurri called up by Donadoni for this match as a ‘Reserve’ team, despite what the coach of South Africa (Carlos Alberto Parreira) may think (“You are the World Champions, there is no Italy nº2” said the Brazilian coach). But the truth of the matter is, most of them are indeed reserve players, or at least they are for now: new names, new faces, new experiments, and the opportunity to try out new schemes & tactics.

Roma @ TheOffside.comA full match report will follow after the game Wednesday, but in the meantime, Chris of the Roma.TheOffside blog has just gone into Azzurri mode, and made a very thorough presentation of the 19 latest additions to Donadoni’s squad. His comments have a slight Giallorossi bias, but you can expect nothing less from a die-hard Roma fan such as Chris.

Have a look at his article, it’s well-written and fairly entertaining.