Monday, November 26, 2007

Euro draw on Sunday

The tournament draw for the 16 qualifying teams will be held in Lucerne, Switzerland on Sunday. The teams will be reorganized into four groups of four.
Tournament draw on Sunday

Host nations Austria and Switzerland received automatic bids while the remaining 14 spots were contested beginning in September 2006 and are shown below.
Draw seeds announced

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D
Czech Republic

Group E

Group F

Group G


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Is it that time already?

Believe it or not, groups were selected for the upcoming World Cup 2010 qualifiers today. Italy landed in Group 8 with Bulgaria, The Republic of Ireland, Montenegro, Cyprus and Georgia.

Even though Italy are the reigning World Cup champions, they are now required to qualify for their spot just like the other teams. This is the first year that this rule is in effect. Host nation, South Africa, is the only team guaranteed a spot with 31 places to be determined.
Bulgaria and Ireland in Group 8

The other groups in Europe are as follows:
Group 1-Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Albania, Malta
Group 2-Greece, Israel, Switzerland, Moldova, Latvia, Luxembourg
Group 3-Czech Republic, Poland, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia, San Marino
Group 4-Germany, Russia, Finland, Wales, Azerbaijan, Liechtenstein

Group 5-Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Armenia, Estonia
Group 6-Croatia, England, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Andorra

Group 7-France, Romania, Serbia, Lithuania, Austria, Faroe Islands
Group 8-Italy, Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland, Cyprus, Georgia, Montenegro
Group 9-Holland, Scotland, Norway, FYR Macedonia, Iceland

See the World Cup homepage for details on other groups, countries and continents.
World Cup 2010 homepage

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Italy takes first place against Faroe Islands

The Azzurri moved quickly, with a little Faorese generosity, as they posted a 3-1 victory to secure first place in Group B. Italy was aided early by an own goal by Fródi Benjaminsen after 11 minutes. Luca Toni, repeating his play of late, scored at the 36 minute mark while Giorgio Chiellini scored at 41 minutes to close out the Italian scoring for the day. Rógvi Jacobsen would tally a goal for the Faroers at the 81st minute as the game wound down.
Italy wins finale
Game photos

Meanwhile, rival France fought to a 2-2 tie with Ukraine in Kiev.
France draws

Italy finishes in first place with 29 points while France ended play in second place with 26 points. A promising stretch run by Scotland, who upset the French 1-0 in September, ended in disappointment as they failed to qualify with 24 points. A 2-0 loss to Georgia in October followed by the 2-1 loss to Italy last week sealed their fate.
Final Standings

Cannavaro tops Zoff

Azzurri captain Fabio Cannavaro moved into second place in caps when he played in his 113th game during Italy's game against the Faroe Islands last week. He surpassed Dino Zoff, who was the goalie on the 1982 team which won the World Cup that year. Paolo Maldini is the all-time leader for Italy with 126 caps.
Cannavaro now No. 2

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

War of words begins

The French have created a bit of a stir by qualifying while not playing a game due to Italy's win over Scotland. Their coach Raymond Domenech has stated that he wants to show that no help was needed, especially from their old "friends" the Italians. They are preparing to play the Ukraine in their final qualifying match.
"We earned it" say the French

Meanwhile, Gennaro Gattuso was happy to qualify but was miffed that they helped the French along the way.
Italy thankful but...

Monday, November 19, 2007

More Italy v. Scotland photos

Here are a few more photos from Saturday's game against Scotland from the website.

Scotland's favorite son, Rod Stewart, was in attendance Saturday evening.

Luca Toni slices through the Scottish defense for Italy's first goal.

Andrea Pirlo saves a goal with this timely header as Gianluigi Biffon and Stephen McManus look on.

The fallen Gabriele Sandri was on the minds of many during the match.

The following link is from the website.
Photo Gallery

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Game photos

Here are some photos from today's game taken from the Euro2008 site and ESPN-Soccernet. Check out the new uniforms too.

Luca Toni exults in the rain as Mauro Camoranesi approaches.

Luca Toni phones home as he celebrates his opening goal at the two minute mark.

Tough physical play was the rule on both sides as Gattuso and Pirlo will agree with.

Christian Panucci's game winner in extra time seals the victory. Azzurri teammates try to capture Panucci after his goal.

FoxSports Photo gallery
Italy-Scotland game article

Italy in after 2-1 victory!

Italy has secured a spot in the Euro2008 tournament after a 2-1 win over Scotland in the steady rain at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Luca Toni scored just after the opening whistle when he took a pass from Antonio DiNatale and deposited in the Scottish net at the two minute mark. That goal would stand as the only one of the match until Ferguson evened things at the 65th minute when he finished off a bobbled save by Gianluigi Buffon.

At the beginning of extra time Christian Panucci headed in the game winner off of a chip from Andrea Pirlo and the Azzurri controlled the final two minutes to complete their quest.
Luca sets the tone
Minute-by minute match report

Donadoni playing to win

Coach Roberto Donadoni is on the brink of qualifying the Azzurri for one of two Group B spots for the Euro2008 tournament.
Don to honor Azzurri

His squad faces group leader Scotland on Saturday in Glasgow. A win would almost assure the team of their entry into the Finals next summer in Switzerland and Austria. A tie would keep them close with a final game against Faroe Islands next week. However a loss would probably doom the team to third place behind Scotland and France and probably cost Donadoni his job.

The always critical Italian press has come down hard on Donadoni several times during his tenure since taking over from Marcello Lippi after the World Cup victory last July in Germany. Initially his team struggled during the early phase of qualifications but they have regrouped nicely during 2007 by going 5-0-1 to contend for those two spots. His only blemish was a 0-0 tie versus France in September and a 3-1 friendly loss to Hungary in which only three members has previous experience with the Azzurri.

Donadoni has warned his team of a similar situation when the Azzurri where unable to qualify for the Euro 1984 after winning the World Cup in 1982. Veterans like Gianluigi Buffon will certainly make Donadoni's job easier.
Buffon ready

Friday, November 16, 2007

Italy to have new away jersey in Scotland game

Puma and the FIGC have announced that Italy will be wearing a new away uniform kit for their game in Scotland on Saturday. The uniform will feature the FIGC logo with four stars signifying Italy's four World Cup championships and gold trimmed collar along with a stripe of the tre colori which was missing from the most recent design.
New uniform unveiled in Scotland game

Coach Roberto Donadoni and captain Fabio Cannavaro were in attendance at the press conference on Wednesday.

Thanks to Neo for letting me know.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

DelPiero left off of squad

Alessandro DelPiero was passed over by Roberto Donadoni and replaced with newcomer Raffaele Palladino for Saturday's key Euro2008 qualifying match with Scotland.

The game will be played at Hampden Park in Glasgow at 5pm local time (6pm in Italy).
Palladino on squad

Tragic day in Serie A

A Lazio fan was shot and killed by the police earlier today as they tried to curtail a dispute with Juventus supporters at a highway rest stop near Arezzo in the Tuscany region.
Sad day for Italian soccer
Italy stunned

The match between Inter and Lazio was cancelled and the start of other Serie A games was delayed by 15 minutes.
Games affected