Wednesday, 3 March 2010

[Azzurri] Experimental Italy held

Andrea Cossu was the pick of Italy's fringe World Cup squad candidates when an experimental Azzurri side were held to a goalless draw by Cameroon in a friendly in Monaco.

Italy 0-0 CameroonCagliari midfielder Cossu set up three good chances that forward Antonio Di Natale failed to put away in the first half for the world champions, who were without a number of injured regulars.

Another debutant, Bari defender Leonardo Bonucci, had little to do as coach Marcello Lippi deployed a new 3-4-3 formation against their fellow World Cup finalists.

Giorgio Chiellini had the ball in the net after 14 minutes, but his effort was ruled offside. Di Natale's right-footed shot from the left was subsequently blocked by Souleymanou Hamidou, as the first half failed to produce many chances.

Udinese striker Di Natale was a menace again after the break, with his powerful strike following a run from the right causing Hamidou significant difficulty, but while he tried his luck again minutes later, his effort was deflected wide.

AC Milan striker Marco Borriello did not see much of the ball before he came off at half-time in his first match for Italy for two years.

The Azzurri, drawn with Slovakia, New Zealand and Paraguay in World Cup Group F, will play two more warm-ups, against Switzerland in Geneva and probably Mexico in Brussels, in early June.

But tonight's test was Lippi's last chance to size up his options before he names his provisional squad for the finals in South Africa.

"It was a very useful match," Lippi said. "We saw the lads who I'd called up for the first time. Borriello had played for the national team before but it was the first time under me.

"Bonucci and Cossu played with good personality and authority."

Cameroon, in World Cup Group E with the Netherlands, Denmark and Japan, will play friendlies against Slovakia and Portugal in the run-up to this summer's event.

International Results (selected):
Tuesday 2 March
Brazil 2-0 Republic of Ireland
Wednesday 3 March
Albania 1-0 Northern Ireland
Algeria 0-3 Serbia
Australia 1-0 Indonesia
Austria 2-1 Denmark
Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 Ghana
England 3-1 Egypt
France 0-2 Spain
Georgia 2-1 Estonia
Germany 0-1 Argentina
Greece 0-2 Senegal
Italy 0-0 Cameroon
Ivory Coast 0-2 South Korea
Japan 2-0 Bahrain
Netherlands 2-1 USA
Nigeria 5-2 Congo
Portugal 2-0 China
Slovakia 0-1 Norway
Slovenia 4-1 Qatar
South Africa 1-1 Namibia
Switzerland 1-3 Uruguay
Turkey 2-0 Honduras
Thursday 4 March
Chile P-P North Korea
Mexico 2-0 New Zealand

Venezuela 1-1 North Korea

Source: UEFA

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