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Jay Scardina On February - 10 - 2011

Azzurri Fight Back In Germany

The Italian national team’s first test in 2011 came with a friendly trip up north to Germany. Even though this was a friendly match, you can bet that it can be anything but friendly on the pitch between these two. Germany has been a strong football team for many years, and made back to back appearances in the the last two World Cup semi-finals. Italy is a team that is under construction at the moment, as Prandelli is giving many players a chance to make the national squad, and this would be a good match to gauge certain players.

I was surprised to see Buffon back in as goalkeeper, as he has played very little in the past year. We also saw the return of the Cassano and Pazzini partnership, since both players moved to new teams at the beginning of the year. Thiago Motta, who once played for the Brazilian under 23 national team, made his debut as an Italian international. Prandelli was also being tested to see how well his tactics would hold up against a strong national team.

Early in the match both sides were controlling possession very well, and looked comfortable on the ball. I would say that the Germans had a slight advantage by playing at home. Even though both teams seemed evenly matched, it was the Germans who would take the lead. Klose opened up the score sheet as Mueller was able to get in behind the Italian defense to make the assist after 16 minutes of play. Italy responded with some fantastic crosses into the box by Stefano Mauri and Cassani, but they never connected with Cassano or Pazzini.

There were some controversial moments in the penalty area as Cassano went down in the box and Mauri claimed a handball, but the ref never blew for a penalty. Italy’s best chance came with a fantastic shot from De Rossi, but Neuer palmed it away. It was a very entertaining first half, and Germany held their one goal lead.

The second half of the game saw Prandelli substitute Cassano and Pazzini for Borriello and Giueseppe Rossi. Within the first ten minutes Rossi was giving the German defense some problems. He had a shot on goal, but the tight angle made it hard to get past the keeper. Borriello caught a long pass and set the offside trap, and took his chance to get Italy back in the match.

Even though Rossi’s and Borriello’s shots were both from wide angles, it was good to see them taking the chance and shooting. Which is more than what we saw from Cassano and Pazzini in the first half.

The match had slowed down quite a bit since the first half. However, Italy were pushing for an equalizer, and after 81 minutes their efforts paid off as Rossi scored to make it 1-1. The game seemed to come back to life as both sides fought for the winning goal, but the match would end as a tie. Overall, I think that Italy played very well. There were some mistakes in the back but they were able to keep Germany at bay after they scored the opening goal. Even though Italy were attacking in the first half and moving the ball forward, it seemed that they were never creative enough to make any real threats on goal with Cassano and Pazzini.

I think that the one thing Italian fans can take away from this game is that players like Ranocchia, Bonucci, and Giovinco were getting some playing time with the national side. Prandelli still has some work to do, but it was good to see the Italians playing with more confidence and get back into the game.

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One Response so far.

  1. Ted says:

    Germany vs Italy is NEVER a friendly!

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Pazzini, and Borriello, but when you look at their goal scoring ratio’s for ITALY, they’re not that impressive! Pazzini has one goal, in 15 appearances and Borriello still hasn’t scored A goal for his National team. This worries me. Still, I’d rather see Pazzini/Borriello/or even as the starting CF for Italy, then the likes of Gila,Iaquinta, or the dreadful Toni.

    I also think Chiellini’s better in the center of th pitch, then as a Fullback. Perhaps Criscito should be played on the left. If anything, he adds width to Italy’s attack.

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