Giuseppe Rossi becomes the first non-Italian born player in recent times to wear the captain's armband for the Azzurri tonight in Klagenfurt, Austria. According to Gabrielle Marcotti, Rossi became the third player born outside Italy to captain the side after Miguel Angel Montuori (Argentina: during the 1950s) and Claudio Gentile (Libya: during the late 1970s and 1980s).
"Senza dimenticare che a indossare la fascia di capitano è il “vecchio” Giuseppe Rossi, forte di 17 presenze in azzurro contro le 11 del redivivo Aquilani, mentre i monumenti Pirlo e De Rossi partiranno dalla panchina".
"Without forgetting who will wear the captain's armand is the "old man" Giuseppe Rossi, on the strength of 17 caps against 11 by Alberto Aquilani, while the monuments Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi will start from the bench."Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 17 Nov. 2010.
If memory serves me correctly, Rossi, a native of Teaneck, New Jersey who plays his club side football for Villarreal in La Liga, becomes the first native-born American to achieve the rare distinction to captain a foreign national team. Rossi has been in the Italian system since his early teenage years.
Well done, Mr. Rossi.
Azzurri Starting XI: 4-3-1-2
Santon, Bonucci, Ranocchia, Balzaretti
Aquilani, Ledesma, Mauri
Balotelli, Rossi (captain)
Manager: Mr. Prandelli
Romania Starting XI: 4-4-2
Maftei, Tamas, Chivu (captain), Rat
Torje, Ropotan, Florescu, Deac
Manager: Mr. Lucescu.
Match Official: Mr. Einwaller.
The last meeting between these two sides was at Euro 2008, and ended, 1 x 1. Gigi Buffon made a great spot kick save on Adrian Mutu to salvage the point.
Both teams came out of the gate strongly. They game was played at an open, fast pace. Both sides attacked, and there was a definite physical nature to the challenges. Chivu of Romania pulled up in the 15th minute with a muscle injury and had to be subbed out. Prandelli, according to RAI Sport, wanted Rossi to play closer to Balotelli up front.
The best Italian chance came in the 27th minute when Balotelli blasted a ball from outside the area that barely missed the top of the Romanian goal. A few minutes later, Torje of Romania was lucky to escape with only a yellow card for a harsh foul on Balotelli. Italy then looked less cohesive. But Romanian persistence paid off in the 34th minute when Ciprian Marica scored on a shot from three meters out. Viviano, the Italian keeper, had no chance.
The half ended, 0 - 0. Several Azzurri changes will occur after the break in this experimental side.
The game took on the attitude of a training match. Italy made five changes: Quagliarella, Pirlo, De Rossi, Gilardino and Cassani. The overall play was better than in the first half; however, Romania was clearly the more organized side.
In the 82nd minute, from a corner kick by Pirlo, Fabio Quagliarella executed a perfect back header to equalize. This was the last game of the year. The next Azzurri fixtures will be the Euro 2012 qualifiers next March. Much work remains ahead for Mister Prandelli.
Prandelli After the Game with RAI Sports
"Romania is a very aggressive team. I expected more from our team.
We lacked personality but had character. Balotelli did very well."
|Shots (on Goal)||7(4)||13(4)|
|Time of Possession||35%||65%|
Courtesy of ESPN SoccerNet.
Racist Abuse Against Mario Balotelli
"Beccato come tutti gli azzurri dai “buuu” dei tifosi romeni, ma anche da uno sparuto gruppo
provocatore di ultrà nostrani, identificati dal Viminale, al grido di “non ci sono negri italiani”.
"He was heckled like all the Italians with "buuu" from Romanian fans, but also by a small provoking group of our ultras, identified from Viminale, with the chant, "The are no black Italians.""C'è delusione e rabbia". Così Prandelli, commenta i buu contro Mario Balotelli. "Si fanno tanti discorsi e poi succedono sempre queste cose - prosegue il commissario tecnico -. Verrebbe voglia di fare qualcosa di particolare, ma siamo impotenti. Il ragazzo deve però sapere che ha l'affetto da parte di tutti. Io l'ho abbracciato Balotelli e la prossima volta lo abbracceremo tutti".
"There is anger and delusion... They (authorities) make so many discussions and then these things always happen. I would like to see something targeted that we could do, but we are impotent. The young man (Balotelli) has to know that he has the affection on behalf of everyone. I embraced Balotelli and the next time, all of us will embrace him."Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 17 Nov. 2010.
--- Cesare Prandelli
According to Gabrielle Marcotti, there were a few banners in the stands that read, "No to a multi-ethnic Italy." I was watching the game on RAI. They didn't show these banners (I might have missed it if they did), but after the game, asked Fabio Quagliarella if he heard the chants against Balotelli. He responded somewhat uncomfortably, "No, but I was intensely watching the match from the bench in the first half."
Balotelli is Italian by Birth
For those who don't know, Mario Barwuah was born in Palermo, Sicily to Ghanain parents. He was adopted by the Balotelli family of Brescia in Northern Italy at a young age. These ignorant and uneducated displays have haunted him at various Italian venues; however, this might have been the first time they occurred on foreign soil by Italian "supporters" (if we can even call such people that term.)
Balotelli After the Game
Mario Balotelli with his Manchester City boss, Roberto Mancini.
"Siamo già una nazione multietnica, forse quella gente lì non se ne è accorta: ma ora che gioco in Inghilterra, mi piacerebbe vedere che nel nostro paese si parla di questi problemi, che si affronta il razzismo...".
"We are already a multi-ethnic nation. Perhaps those people there (in the stands tonight) can't accept it. But now that I play in England, it would please me to see our country speak about these problems, to confront racism."Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 17 Nov. 2010.
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