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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Euro 2008: Italia 2 x Georgia 0

Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Click the image to
see Andrea Pirlo's goal.
For the goal by Fabio
Grosso, please click here.

Earlier in the day, Scotland defeated Ukraine, 3 x 1, and France sailed past the Faroe Islands, 0 x 6. The pressure was on the Azzurri to win, since the table now read Scotland 24 and France on 22. Italy entered the game on 20 points.

This Georgia side had already been eliminated. They had two players who started but were without club sides. They also played a 17 year old reserve for Serie A side Empoli. It would seem like easy work for Italy. But such is never the case for anyone who knows the Azzurri.

Mister Donadoni fielded a very offensive team tonight. He was without Vincenzo Iaquinta, who came down with a fever. He was also without Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluca Zambrotta in defense. Up front, Luca Toni was partnered by Antonio Di Natale and Fabio Quagliarella. They faced a very tight and closed 4-5-1 by Georgia. As RAI commentator, Fabio Capello said, "Molto chiuso." Very closed.

The best chance for Italy came at the 26th minute. Di Natale floated a nice cross into the area, but Toni's precise header struck the lower left goal post. A few minutes later, Di Natale had a good chance directly in front of the goal, but blasted the ball into the stands. The Azzurri continued to attack, and in the 43rd minute, a free kick by Andrea Pirlo confused the Georgian keeper and sailed past him. The tension rose from the Marassi pitch in Genoa like hot steam. Donadoni was visibly relieved from the sidelines.

In the second half, the Azzurri continued to apply pressure, but missed a few good chances to kill off this game. In the 84th minute, from a nice pass by Toni, Fabio Grosso scored with a crisp left-footed chip to effectively end the game.

With a very suspect keeper, they should have scored a few more goals. Georgia did not push forward, and against a modest opponent, the World Champions need to produce more concrete results.

The next game will be a friendly on Wednesday in Siena against South Africa. Most likely, Donadoni will field a very young lineup.
After the game, Fabio Capello asked Donadoni if it were better to stop experimenting, and to use a more stable lineup with Scotland on the horizon? He evaded the question somewhat, and appeared disturbed by it. He replied that he was pleased with the progress and spirit of the team.

When asked to grade the Azzurri, Capello said, "6.5." (6.5 out of 10).
For a very detailed game analysis, please read the commentary by Marco Pantanella of Soccerlens and mCalcio.

  • Christian Panucci, 34, made his 50th appearance for Italy.
  • Pasquale Foggia made his debut for Italy. He is the 49th player to debut under the tenure of Donadoni.
  • Gigi Buffon was the captain for the first time in his career for the Azzurri.
  • Roberto Donadoni fielded the 13th different lineup for his 13th game on the Italian bench.
  • Menteshashvili, 17, made his starting debut for Georgia. He plays in the Empoli primavera, or youth team. "As they say in Spain, he is stil green." Fabio Capello
  • Kenia, 16, made his third appearnance as a substitute for Georgia. He plays for Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga. "In my opinion, he is too young for this level." Fabio Capello


Johnny Centreback said...

So Capello disturbed Donadoni did he? I'd be nervous too if a guy like Capello was asking questions of me. A question like that seems like no question at all. It seems a statement, an urging. What do you think Steve, is Donadoni experimenting too much?

Steve Amoia said...


I believe that the experimentation is ill-advised until qualification is secured. As I noted in the post, he has fielded 13 different sides in his 13 game tenure.

Fabio Capello may have been veiling his true sentiments. Obviously, coming from a coach with his experience, it was a challenge to his judgment. I believe that it was a fair question, even if Mr. Donadoni has decided otherwise for the friendly with South Africa. ;-)

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