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

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.



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