Ronaldinho and Gianluca Zambrotta at The Emirates. They were
teammates at FC Barcelona and now play together for AC Milan.
Image courtesy of FIFA
At 2030 local time in Pretoria, the classic of world football, Italy x Brasil, will kick off with much at stake for the Azzurri. Even if Italy win, they are not guaranteed a spot in the semi-final round. All depends upon the result between Egypt and the USA which kicks-off at the same time.
To say that these two teams are well-acquainted would be an understatement. Many have played with and against each other in Germany, Italy and Spain. There will be no secrets tonight in Pretoria.
Brasil has won 6, Italy has won 5, and there have been 2 ties. This is the first time that both fabled sides have met twice in one year. Last February, Brasil defeated Italy, 2 x 0, at The Emirates. Before that game, their last meeting was in 2000. This will be the first competitive game between both countries since the 1994 World Cup final in Pasedena, California.
Comments from Marcello Lippi
Image of Marcello Lippi courtesy of Paul Blank
"Riferito sui giornali agli azzurri dopo la gara con l’Egitto? Poca fantasia, ma nessun effetto. Comunque a volte anche le mummie sciolgono le bende. Questa squadra ha ancora voglia di vincere, come ai Mondiali".
"Referring to the newspapers (the Azzurri were asleep like mummies) after the game with Egypt? A little fantasy, but no effect. Sometimes, even mummies take off their bandages. This team still has a thirst to win, just like at the World Cup."JULIO CESAR — "Ha detto che l’Egitto ci ha battuti perchè ha corso molto? Il loro portiere ha corso molto, da un palo all’altro".
"He (Julio Cesar, the keeper of Brasil) said that the Egyptians beat us because they ran a lot? Their keeper ran a lot, from one pole to another."
LA SCONFITTA CON IL BRASILE — "Se pesa il k.o. di Londra in febbraio? No, era un’amichevole. Qualche giocatore allora giocava una gara così importante per la prima volta, abbiamo pagato questo".
"Does the loss from London in February still hurt? No, it was a friendly. Some players played in an important game for the first time, and we paid for this."
CLASSICA — "Quale precedente mi ricordo? Italia-Brasile 3-2 del Mondiale 1982. E’ il 21 giugno, il giorno in cui l’Italia perse con il Brasile nel Mondiale del 1970? Sì, ma di quel campionato mi ricordo la vittoria con la Germania. L’Italia aveva speso quasi tutto in quella partita, contro quel Brasile non le era rimasto nulla".
Italian Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 20 June 2009.
"Which game from the past do I remember? Italy 3 x Brasil 2 from World Cup 1982. It is the 21st of June, the day in which Italy lost to Brasil in the World Cup final of 1970? Yes, but from that competition, I remember the extra time victory against West Germany. Italy left everything out on the pitch in that game, and against Brasil, nothing was left."
Julio Cesar on Tactics
Julio Cesar plays in Italy for Internazionale.
«Se l'Italia verrà avanti, come io credo - dice ancora Julio Cesar - noi possiamo infilarla perchè abbiamo giocatori molto tecnici e veloci come Robinho e Kakà, che sono pronti ad infilarsi negli spazi lasciati liberi dagli avversari. Ricordatevi cosa abbiamo fatto in Cile, Venezuela ed Uruguay (tre vittorie nelle qualificazioni mondiali n.d.r.). Loro venivano avanti e noi abbiamo vinto».
"If Italy comes forward, as I believe, we can infiltrate them because we have very fast and technical players such as Robinho and Kaka', who are ready to penetrate the spaces left vacant by the opponents. Remember what we did in Chile, Venezuela and Uruguay (3 wins in the 2010 World Cup qualification round). They came forward and we won."Italian Source: Corriere dello Sport, 20 June 2009.
In 14 World Cup qualification games, Brasil has only allowed 6 goals. Julio Cesar has been in great form, and it will take a perfect game by the Azzurri to beat him and Brasil.
Lineups: 4 Changes for the Azzurri, and one for o Selecao
ITALIA (4-3-3): Buffon; Zambrotta, Chiellini, Cannavaro, Dossena; De Rossi, Pirlo, Montolivo; Camoranesi, Toni, Iaquinta.
BRASIL (4-2-3-1): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Juan, Andre Santos; Felipe Melo, Gilberto Silva; Ramires, Kakà, Robinho; Luis Fabiano.
Source: Corriere dello Sport
The field conditions were dry, and the weather was announced at 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria.
Initially, the Azzurri showed more urgency, organization, and pressing than in their previous two games. Unfortunately, it would not last long. In the 6th minute, Luis Fabiano, who would cause the Italian defense significant problems, struck the right post. Brasil looked very fast and dangerous on the attack. The Azzurri absorbed the pressure, but looked as if they could not hold the seige forever.
Kaka' had a good chance saved by Buffon, and then he saved very well on an onrushing Luis Fabiano who was hurled over head. The only Italian chance came in the 28th minute. Camoranesi struck a right footed volled that grazed close to the crossbar with Julio Cesar beaten.
The Azzurri looked very disorganized in defense. They slipped on the turf, and also commited ball control errors. Brasil was ready to pounce. In the 33rd minute, Lucio took the ball down the left wing and struck the crossbar on a deflection. Then was saved a minute later by Buffon, who was screaming at his defenders. But it would be to no avail.
In the 37th minute, Luis Fabiano, from a pass by Robinho, beat Buffon on a perfectly placed right diagonal shot. Giuseppe Rossi then came on for Iaquinta. In the 43rd minute, Robinho passed to Luis Fabiano, but the ball was put into the Italian goal by Dossena.
Brasil had too much speed and class. The half ended, 0 x 3, with a potential embarassing result on the horizon...
Simone Pepe came on for Montolivo, and a few minutes later, Gilardino for Toni. The Azzurri pushed forward, but didn't have their first goal-scoring opportunity until the 63rd minute. Camoranesi crossed a perfect ball for Pepe, but he slipped in front of Julio Cesar. Then more good chances arrived. Giuseppe Rossi forced Julio Cesar into two saves, and Gilardino also had two good chances.
Kaka' had the best chance for the 4th Brasilian goal, but his curled effort went just wide of the post. But in all frankness, they took their foot off of the pedal during the second half. This game was decided in the first 45 minutes. The game ended, 0 x 3, and the USA (3 x 0) over Egypt advance on goal difference to the next round at the Azzurri's expense.
Questions remain over Mister Lippi's selections, the lack of speed on the current Azzurri squad, along with unusual defensive lapses. Over three games, they were shut out twice, conceded five, and scored three times on a 10 man USA. The Azzurri created many chances, but the finishing was very poor. Once again, Luca Toni failed to score or add much to the flow of play.
Brasil was clearly superior in all facets of the game, and now has given the Azzurri two footballing lessons in the space of four months.
The next friendly for the Azzurri will be in August against Switzerland. In September, World Cup qualification resumes with games against Georgia and Bulgaria, respectively.
Marcello Lippi After the Game: "Let's Go on Holiday and Reorder our Ideas."
"Il Brasile è una delle squadre più forti del mondo e noi ci siamo presentati in condizione non brillante". Marcello Lippi commenta così lo 0-3 contro la il Brasile che ci costringe ad abbandonare la Confederations Cup. "Siamo fuori e ci dispace molto ma il nostro cammino prosegue", aggiunge il c.t. azzurro. Lippi si toglie anche un sassolino dalla scarpa: "Dall'esterno - dice riferendosi alle tante polemiche sui media - devono stare calmi e non spingere con i giovani, perché ci vuole personalità, esperienza, una certa abitudine a certe partite. Questo è quello che possiamo fare adesso. E ho detto adesso. Non vuol dire che anche in futuro sarà così. Certo ora non ci meritavamo di più. Andiamo in vacanza e riordiniamo le idee".
Italian Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 22 June 2009."Brasil is one of the strongest teams in the world, and we didn't present ourselves in brilliant condition... We are out and we are very sorry but our road continues... From the outside (journalists), you have to stay calm and not call for the younger players, because it takes personality, experience, a certain way to handle specific games. This is what we have to do now. And I said it now. I don't want to say it will be this way in the future. Surely, now we don't deserve anything more. Let's go on holiday and reorder our ideas."
Gigi Buffon After the Game: "We Are Not Competitive"
«È giusto uscire: dobbiamo meritarci le cose senza aspettare aiuti dagli altri. È stato meglio così, perchè siamo in un momento delicato e non siamo competivi». L'analisi a caldo di Italia-Brasile fatta da Gigi Buffon ai microfoni di RaiSport è impietosa: il portiere azzurro non cerca scuse e spiega che «quando facciamo pressing e mettiamo l'anima siamo una grande squadra, ma senza queste caratteristiche diventiamo vulnerabili. Tenete comunque conto che Cannavaro non si allenava da un mese e mezzo e che Gattuso tornava dopo sette».
But Gigi, Gattuso didn't play tonight, and Cannavaro wasn't the one who kicked the ball into his own goal..."It is right to go out: We have to deserve it without waiting for help from others. It is better this way, because we are in a delicate moment and are not competitive... When we press and put our soul into it, we are a great team, but without these characteristics we become vulnerable. You have to take into account that Cannavaro hasn't trained in a month and a half and Gattuso just returned after seven months."
Italian Source: Corriere dello Sport, 22 June 2009.