Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Ebrahim Sadien On March - 25 - 2013

Italy verse Brazil Recap: Nothing Friendly

Mario Balotelli produced a moment of brilliance to earn the Azzuri a 2-2 draw against Brazil on Thursday evening in Geneva.

These two powerhouses of world football have produced memorable encounters through the years. Thursday’s match was tabled as a friendly but in reality Italy v Brazil is never a friendly, and so it turned out. The game was a thrilling encounter which produced excitement for the full ninety minutes. Despite four goals being scored the final score line does the game very little justice.

Pablo Osvaldo partnered Balotelli upfront, while Juventus utility man Emanuele Giaccherini began in the trequartista role in Cesare Prandelli’s 4-3-1-2 setting. Brazil fielded an attacking formation including the likes of Fredrico Chaves Guedes ‘Fred’, Givanildo Vieira de Souza commonly known as ‘Hulk’, Neymar da Silva Santos and ‘Oscar’ dos Santos Emboaba Júnior.

The game began in a blistering fashion with both teams creating scoring opportunities. It was Brazil though who opened the scoring in the thirty second minute. A Luiz Felipe cross from the left was volleyed home by ‘red at the back post. Somewhat against the run of play, the Selecao doubled their lead three minutes before half time. The menacing Neymar carried the ball to the edge of the Azzurri’s box and intelligently slipped in Oscar who poked the ball past Gigi Buffon. Despite some enterprising play by the Italians they entered the half time break 2-0 down.

Manager Prandelli who has already proved his ability to tactically adapt and alter formations during his tenure as the Italian decision maker, switched to 4-3-3 for the second period. The reaction from the Azzurri was astounding and after fighting back to earn a draw, will count themselves unlucky not to of won.
In the fifty seventh minute a corner was poked home by Roma’s Daniele De Rossi from inside the six year box. Only two minutes later, Balotelli ensured that his name would grab all the headlines once again. After creating some space, he unleashed a stunning shot from outside the box which found the top corner. A despairing full stretched dive from former Inter keeper Julio Cesar was unable to prevent Italy from equalising.

The Italians grew from strength and strength and created numerous more scoring opportunities. Both Balotelli and Leonardo Bonucci came agonisingly close to grabbing a winner. In the end Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men managed to hold on for a draw.

Friendly internationals very rarely offer us meaningful insight. However both teams used this match to prepare for the Confederations Cup in June and the World Cup in Brazil next summer. With both teams in transition after falling behind the likes of Spain in recent years, Brazil proved they still have some work to do if they want any chance of winning the World Cup on home soil. Prandelli was satisfied with his team’s performance speaking after the game: “We played a great game, one of the best since I’ve been in charge. But the most important thing now is to focus on Tuesday because there are three important points at stake against Malta.”

Despite Balotelli grabbing the headlines, also promising for the Italians was the impressive debuts for the young Mattia De Sciglio and Torino winger Alessio Cerci. Prandelli used his squad well while fully conscious of the need to get the full three points against Malta on Tuesday on the road to World Cup 2014.

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