Thursday, 7 August 2008

[Olympics] Flying start for Italy

A Sebastian Giovinco-inspired Italy cruised to a 3-0 victory over Honduras in Group D of the Men's Olympic Football Tournament in Qinhuangdao.

Honduras 0-3 ItalyThe 21-year-old Juventus midfielder was at the heart of all of his team's best moves and opened the scoring in the 41st minute with what will surely be a contender for goal of the tournament.

Giovinco, who stands at just 1.64m tall, hit a rising left-hand shot from just outside the area, which flew into the top left hand corner of the net, leaving goalkeeper Kevin Hernandez with absolutely no chance.

Prior to the goal, Italy thought that they may have gone into the interval with nothing to show for their first-half dominance. The Azzurri should have taken the lead as early as the third minute when Robert Acquafresca hit the ball straight at Hernandez when he only had the keeper to beat.

Giovinco also set up Riccardo Montolivo, who saw a low shot turned around the post, and Giuseppe Rossi, whose stooping header was just inches away from its intended target.

Acquafresca was once again frustrated by Hernandez, before Giovinco's strike opened the floodgates.

Just four minutes after taking the lead, Italy doubled their advantage when Quirarol Arzu handled in the area. Rossi stepped up to covert the resulting penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Understandably, Pierluigi Casiraghi's side came out after the interval with their tails up. Giovinco, who by now was producing a buzz of expectancy from the 21,680-strong crowd whenever he touched the ball, supplied a delightful ball to Acquafresca, but Hernandez was equal to his effort.

Honduras 0-3 ItalyThe duel between striker and goalkeeper took another twist in the 52nd minute when the Cagliari man was brought down when bearing down on goal. However, this time he got one over on his opponent by firing the ball home from 12 yards.

The man of the moment was taken off in the 79th minute to a roar of appreciation from the home crowd and it was after his withdrawal that Honduras had their best chances to score.

First substitute Ramon Nunez saw his shot turned around the post by Emiliano Viviano and then the same player was tripped by Lorenzo De Silvestri. Carlos Pavon had the duty of taking Qinhuangdao's fifth penalty in three games, but blasted the ball over the bar.

But despite the strong finish from the Hondurans, the game belonged to Italy and Giovinco, the darling of Qinhuangdao.

Italy: Viviano, De Silvestri, Bocchetti (Coda 72), Criscito, De Ceglie, Cigarini, Montolivo, Nocerino, Giovinco (Marchisio 78), Rossi (Abate 59), Acquafresca.

Pierluigi Casiraghi (Italy coach): "We played with a high tempo and I was pleased with that. We influenced the key parts of the game and the times that we scored the goals changed the game completely. It was difficult for us in the weather, so I'm very happy with the win and the scoreline. However, we need to keep our feet on the ground and I just hope that we can continue like this for the rest of the tournament."

Sebastian Giovinco (Italy midfielder): "I was delighted to score a goal like that, it was the best way for us to begin this important competition. However, it's just the beginning. I was happy with my performance, but we played well as a team - and that is far more important. Of course, I want to play the full 90 minutes in the next match, but the weather conditions make things difficult, so I understand the decision to take me off."

Thursday August 7
Group A:
Australia 1-1 Serbia
Ivory Coast 1-2 Argentina
Group B:
Japan 0-1 USA
Netherlands 0-0 Nigeria
Group C:
Brazil 1-0 Belgium
China 1-1 New Zealand
Group D:
Honduras 0-3 Italy
South Korea 1-1 Cameroon


Source: FIFA

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