Sunday, October 11, 2009

Azzurri heading to South Africa

The Azzurri secured a spot in next year's World Cup tournament in South Africa with an exciting 2-2 draw with the Republic of Ireland at Croke Park in Dublin.

The Italians were behind from nearly the start when Glenn Whelan scored at the 8 minute mark. Italy would counter on a goal by Mauro Camoranesi (26') midway through the first half. The game would remain tied until Leon Best scored what appeared to be the game winner in the 83rd minute. Alberto Gilardino would play the role of hero when he scored (90') to draw the Italians even as the game neared its completion.

The victory by the Azzurri secured the top spot in Group 8 of the UEFA organazation and an automatic bid to the World Cup. The Irish are coached by former Azzurri boss Giovanni Trapattoni.

Match summary

Match stats

Friday, September 11, 2009

Azzurri move along in WC qualifier

Goals by Fabio Grosso (11') and Vincenzo Iaquinta (40') helped the Azzurri secure this match against Bulgaria before half-time. The Italians were out-shot 21 to 15 but did not allow a goal playing in front of the partisan crowd at Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The victory keeps Italy atop Group 8 with 20 points (6 wins, 2 draws) followed by Republic of Ireland (16 pts.) and Bulgaria (11pts).

Italy's next World Cup qualifier is on Saturday, October 10, 2009 versus Republic of Ireland at Landsdowne Road in Dublin. That match will be followed by a clash with Cyprus on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 in Rome.

Match Stats

Monday, July 20, 2009

Azzurri Team of the Decade 2000-2009 has announced their Team of the Decade for Italy for 2000-2009. The squad is comprised of the following players:

Gianluigi Buffon (1997- )
Gianluca Zambrotta (1999- )
Alessandro Nesta (1996-2006)
Fabio Cannavaro (1997- )
Paolo Maldini (1988-2002)
Fabio Grosso (2003- )
Andrea Pirlo (2002- )
Rino Gattuso (2000- )
Francesco Totti (1998-2006)
Christian Vieri (1997-2005)
Pippo Inzaghi (1997-2007)

Azzurri Team of the Decade

Monday, June 30, 2008

Spaniards worthy champions of Euro2008

While the Germans had the experience, the Spanish had the momentum heading into Sunday's Euro2008 finals. Spain took advantage of it and defeated Germany, 1-0, for their first major tournament win in over forty years.

Lead by Fernando Torres' beautiful flick over a diving Jens Lehmann at the 33rd minute, from a perfect pass ahead by Xavi, Spain completed their championship run undefeated at 6-0 while leading the tournament with 12 goals scored. Their toughest game was a 0-0 contest with Italy in the quarter-finals which Spain won 4-2 on a penalty shoot-out. Spanish goalie Iker Casillas and their defense were outstanding, allowing three goals in six games.
Spain 1 - Germany 0
Match stats

Game Photos, Finals, June 29

Spain celebrates Euro win

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Finals-A Preview

The odds-makers are saying Spain, but I am taking Germany in Sunday's final game of the Euro2008 Championship in Vienna, Austria.

On paper the tandem of David Villa and Fernando Torres look like one of the premier scoring duos heading into the tournament. Villa's four goals leads all scorers and Daniel Guiza's two goals place him in the top 10. The Spaniards are first in goals scored with 11 while the German's are tied for second with 10. German goalie Jens Lehmann has appeared shaky at times, especially early in the Turkey game. However Villa is doubtful for the match which puts more pressure on Torres who has not had much scoring success thus far.

The German front line of Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose along with midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and captain Michael Ballack are one of the most talented groups in the tournament. Witness their excellent counterattack during the Turkey game which knotted the game at 1-1 shortly after the Turks scored the first goal of the match. However, they are faced with a formidable task going against Iker Casillas.

I believe that the experience factor of a big game may lie with the Germans. Their starting group in the semifinal match against Turkey amassed over 500 caps. This group played in the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup against Italy while this is the first finals for the Spaniards since they lost to Michel Platini and France in Euro1984 .

My prediction is that the Germans will win the match 1-0 in regular time. Good luck to all! It's been an entertaining tournament.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Turks stun Croatia in extra time

Turkey continued its improbable ride today when they defeated Croatia by penalty kicks 3-1 in Vienna. The game ended in a scoreless draw and the teams played one full period of overtime without a tally. Near the end of the second overtime, Croatia grabbed the lead and appeared to have the game in hand until Turkey countered with seconds to spare. A goal by Semih Senturk scored to take the match to penalty kicks. During PKs, Turkey converted on all three while Croatia, dumbfounded by the turn of events, was only able to manage one penalty kick.

Croatia had previously beaten Germany in group play while on their way to three victories. Meanwhile,Turkey scored three goals within fifteen minutes to erase a 2-0 deficit against Czech Republic which took them from the brink of elimination all the way into the semifinals. The Turks will face Germany on Wednesday in Basel.
Turkey 3 - Croatia 1 (PKs)
Game stats

Game Photos, Germany v. Portugal, June 19 and Croatia v. Turkey, June 20

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Great Eight

The final groupings have been decided after yesterday's matches in Group D. The pairings and the remainder of the schedule are as follows.

Thursday, June 19
Portugal (A1) v. Germany (B2), 2:45pm (EST) Basel, SW

Friday, June 20
Croatia (B1) v. Turkey (A2), 2:45pm (EST), Vienna

Saturday, June 21
Netherlands (C1) v. Russia (D2), 2:45pm (EST), Basel, SW

Sunday, June 22
Spain (D1) v. Italy (C2), 2:45pm (EST), Vienna

Wednesday, June 25
Semifinals, A1/B2 winner v. B1/A2 winner
2:45pm (EST), Basel, SW

Thursday, June 26
Semifinals, C1/D2 winner v. D1/C2 winner
2:45pm (EST), Vienna

Sunday, June 29
Finals, 2:45pm (EST), Vienna