Wednesday, 12 August 2009

[Azzurri] Swiss stalemate for Italy

Switzerland 0-0 ItalyItaly, still smarting from their embarrassing Confederations Cup display in June, were foiled by goalkeeper Diego Benaglio in a 0-0 draw with Switzerland in a friendly in Basle.

Benaglio helped the hosts extend their unbeaten run to seven games while Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro made a record-breaking 127th appearance, overtaking Paolo Maldini.

Coach Marcello Lippi handed debuts to Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio and to Genoa defender Domenico Criscito at St Jakob-Park.

Benaglio made two excellent close-range saves in the opening 13 minutes from Alberto Gilardino and Criscito and, although the world champions scrambled the ball home at the third attempt, the goal was disallowed for a foul.

Two minutes later Benaglio made another fine stop after 23-year-old Marchisio was sent through by Giuseppe Rossi.

In between, Gilardino chipped over the bar after another incisive pass by the lively Rossi as the Azzurri, beaten by Brazil and Egypt two months ago in South Africa, took control.

Gianluigi Buffon was tested for the first time after 24 minutes when he tipped Tranquillo Barnetta's shot onto the bar.

Both teams had chances in the second half, Barnetta wasting Switzerland's best effort when he failed to make proper contact with Blaise Nkufo's pass.

Benaglio again did well on the hour-mark to stop an angled effort by Vincenzo Iaquinta, who also shot wide after breaking free of the defence, while Simone Pepe hit the side-netting from a corner to the back post.

The game petered out in the last 20 minutes after both teams made the maximum six substitutions. but Italy almost won it in stoppage time when Davide Santon's cross found fellow substitute Fabio Quagliarella, but Benaglio parried his effort to earn the Swiss a draw.

Italy will be back in competitive action next month, when they take on Georgia in Tbilisi on September 5 and host Bulgaria in Turin four days later.

Lippi's men lead World Cup qualifying Group 8 with 14 points from six matches, one point more than the Republic of Ireland with a game in hand.

Source: Reuters

1 comment:

  1. this was very good performance for marchisio e criscito and santon.

    gilardino miss too many goals.