With their tickets booked to South Africa, the Azzurri have been training this past week in the Abruzzo region that was afflicted by the earthquake earlier this year. The presence of the Azzurri has provided some solace to the thousands of displaced lives after this tragedy.
Comments Ahead of the Game
"Vi dico subito la formazione, interessa? Buffon, Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Grosso; Pirlo, Palombo, Candreva; Camoranesi, Gilardino, Palladino".
"I'll tell you the starting lineup straight away: (listed above)""Mi piace fare giocare due giovani, Candreva e Palladino, nel contesto di altri nove veterani. Quando si inseriscono tutti insieme alcuni nuovi tutto diventa invece più difficile. Il ruolo di Candreva? E’ un centrocampista completo, a tutto campo. Domani farà la mezzala sinistra. Mi ha impressionato quando ho visto Livorno-Milan, ho continuato a seguirlo e l’ho chiamato. Ora gioca".
"I'm glad to play two youngsters, Candreva and Palladino, among nine other veterans. Whenever you insert everyone together at once, a few new ones, everything becomes a little more difficult. The role of Candreva? He is a complete midfielder all over the field. Tomorrow he will feature as an inside left (he used the old term and not midfielder.) He impressed me when I saw Livorno x Milan, and I continued to follow him and I called him up. Now he plays.""Mi aspetto cose buone, una crescita generale. Ci sono più certezze rispetto al novembre 2005, prima del precedente Mondiale. Ma questa gara non sarà determinante in funzione di giugno. Con la Svezia, poi, cambieranno 7-8 giocatori".
"I expect good things (against Holland), an overall growth. There are more certainties in respect to November 2005 (Italy won convincingly), before the run up to the World Cup. But this game will not determine what happens in June. With Sweden, therefore, 7 or 8 players will be changed."
"Irlanda-Francia? Tifiamo sempre per gli italiani. Trapattoni e Tardelli in questo caso".
"France against Ireland?
I will always cheer for the Italians. In this case, Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli."
Marcello Lippi, manager of the Azzurri.Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 13 November 2009.
Gigi Reaches the Century Mark
Tonight will be Gianluigi's 100th cap for Italy. Complimenti e auguri, Gigi!
"Cento è una bella cifra, anche se in fondo è un numero come un altro. In ogni caso per la Nazionale è molto importante, e determinerà anche la fine della mia carriera. Quando l'Italia non mi chiamerà più sarò molto, molto vicino a smettere. Gioco con l'Inter e se serve con il Bayern, poi mi opero".
"100 is a great figure, even if at the end of the day it is a number like any other. In any case, it is very important for the National Team, and it will also determine the end of my career.Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 13 November 2009.
When Italy no longer calls me up, I will be very, very close to quitting.
I will play against Inter Milan and against Bayern Munich. Then I will have an operation." (on his knee)
Gigi Buffon of the Azzurri
Follow the Game Online
- If you would like to discuss the game with other Azzurri fans, please visit Anna Italia at her site: http://italiansoccerseriea.com. She provides a live matchcast in English.
- ESPN MatchTracker (In English)
- Gazzetta dello Sport MatchView (in Italian)
Zambrotta, Cannavaro (captain), Chiellini, Grosso
Pirlo, Palombo, Candreva
Camoranesi, Palladino, Gilardino
Manager: Mr. Lippi
The Netherlands Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
Van der Weil, Mathijsen, Heitinga, Van Bronckhorst
Van Bommel, De Jong
Kuyt, Van der Vaart, Elia
Manager: Mr. Van Marwijk
Referee: Mr. Circhetta of Switzerland
Before the game, the Dutch FA/Players donated €25,000 Euros to the Abruzzo Earthquake Fund. The entire gate receipts of €190,000 Euros were also donated to the same fund. Compliments to the Dutch, the Azzurri, along with the 15,000 spectators.
The game itself began with a lively start for a small but very vocal crowd. Both teams looked to attack. The Azzurri were were quick and incisive. Especially Mauro Camoranesi who was very creative in his wide midfield role. In recent games, Camo has been taking on more of a playmaking or "fantasista," role for the Azzurri. His great work rate, along with the amount of ground that he covers, would be the envy of a much younger player.
Early in the match, Robin Van Persie went to the ground after a fair challenge by Giorgio Chiellini. The Arsenal man was stretchered off the pitch, and replaced by Huntelaar.
The best chance for the Dutch came in the 20th minute by Dirk Kuyt, but his shot sailed wide right. For the Azzurri, Alberto Gilardino had an early chance but slipped as he struck the ball. There were few other chances for either team; however, the quick runs of Elia created problems in the Azzurri box. Of note, Azzurri debutante Candreva played very well and inserted himself into the fray with confidence.
The half ended, 0 x 0.
The match became more contested in the second half. There were many reckless challenges, and the play was not as fluid. Both teams took advantage of the liberal substitution rules for this friendly. Giuseppe Rossi brought some pace to the Italian side, but they could not finish off their opportunities.
The match ended in a scoreless draw; however, the real winners were the people of Abruzzo.
Comments by Mr. Lippi After the Game to RAI
"We did very well. I liked our attitude in the first half, but we lost a lot of passes. We didn't concede anything to the Dutch who are a very important team.
The young players Candreva, Palladino, and Biondini, along with the others, did very well. A scoreless draw isn't a beautiful thing, but overall, I'm satisfied."
- This was Fabio Cannavaro's 131st cap, and his 74th time as the Azzurri captain.
- Gigi Buffon's first cap came against Russia in November 1997 during a World Cup 1998 play-off in Moscow.
- The Netherlands has not won in Italy for their last seven visits.
- Daniele de Rossi missed the game due to a broken cheekbone in the last game with Inter Milan.
- Wesley Sneijder was scratched before the game due to a muscular problem. His Inter manager, Jose' Mourinho, created controversy a few days ago when he suggested that the Juventus block of the Azzurri would go after Sneijder ahead of the big Serie A match in a few weeks.