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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Euro 2008: Italy 3 x Faroe Islands 1


Image of Luca Toni
courtesy of
Paul Blank
and www.postproduktie.nl.
Click the image to see video
highlights from the game.

This was the first soccer game held in Italy after the tragic death of Gabriele Sandri. It marked the 113th cap for Fabio Cannavaro, which saw him surpass the legendary, Dino Zoff, as the second most-capped Italian in history.

Thia game was played at the Stadio Braglia in Modena, which was the birthplace of Luciano Pavarotti, along with current Azzurri star, Luca Toni. This was the first time that Modena had ever hosted the Azzurri.

The Faroe Islands are comprised almost entirely of amateur players; however, in the first leg, they scored a goal against Gigi Buffon, who tonight was rested in favor of Marco Amelia. They are a tall and physically-oriented team. They had lost all 11 previous qualification games, and only scored 3 goals. For tonight's match, they fielded three players with the surname of "Jacobsen."

Festive Stadium Atmosphere

The stadium atmosphere was festive. Many children were seen, which is a novelty in Italian football that needs to become more common. The fans also did not whistle the Faroese anthem as was done when France played in Milan last September.

Raffaele Palladino of Juventus was given his first start for the senior Azzurri squad.

In the 10th minute, Frodi Benjaminson scored an own goal for the Faroes from a cross by Massimo Oddo. The Azzurri, as anticipated, controlled most of the possession, and the Faroese soaked up the pressure. Several chances were wasted, but in the 36th minute, Luca Toni showed sublime control and half-volleyed with his right foot past Mikkelson for the second Italian goal. After that, things became easier, and in the 41st minute, fullback Giorgio Chiellini scored from a long bomb of over 25 meters. It was his first goal at the senior level. The half ended, 3 x 0.
To view the goal by Chiellini, please click here.
Second half

Mr. Donadoni did not make any immediate changes, but he then subbed out Cannavaro anda a Luca Toni. The rhythm of the game diminished, and it became more of a training session. But in the 83rd minute, Rogvi Jacobsen scored on a fine header past Amelia. It was his fourth goal during the qualification campaign, and second against Italy.
Jacobsen is a carpenter by trade, and no doubt will cherish these memories for a lifetime. He received a sporting ovation by the Italian fans.
Notes
  • Italy finishes with 29 points from a total of 36, and wins Group B.
  • The Euro 2008 draw will take place on 02 December. There will be four seeds: Austria, Switzerland, Greece, and Holland.
  • The next friendly for Italy will be against Spain in February 2008.
  • With England's loss tonight to Croatia at Wembley, no British or Irish team qualified for Euro 2008.

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