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Saturday, October 10, 2009

2010 World Cup Qualifier: Republic of Ireland 2 x Italia 2: Azzurri Qualify for South Africa

Azzurri captain Fabio Cannavaro is suspended for
tonight's match and has been in the news for a failed
doping test. In August, he was stung by a wasp, and
the Juventus medical staff gave him cortisol to avoid
an allergic reaction. He may return for the Cyprus match
next Wednesday.

Image courtesy of Paul Blank and

Comments Ahead of the Game by the Managers

"Non ho paura dei playoff che ci toccherebbero se, come è quasi sicuro, l’Italia vincerà il girone... "Alla fine un pari con gli azzurri campioni del mondo sarebbe un buon risultato. Anche se la mia esperienza dice che occorre sempre giocare per vincere. Ma vogliamo conquistare un risultato che ci consenta di tenere a distanza la Bulgaria".
"I don't fear the playoffs if that is where we end up. It is almost certain that Italy will win the group. In the end, a draw against the champions of the world would be a good result. Even if my experience says always play to win. But we want to take a result that will keep our hold over Bulgaria."

Giovanni Trapattoni, manager of the Republic of Ireland.
"C’è un po’ di emozione perchè sarà una gara chiave, ma non di frenesia. Andiamo lì per vincere, non per il punticino, che pure significherebbe Mondiale raggiunto. La settimana di lavoro è andata molto bene, l’unico intoppo è stato l’acciacco che ha bloccato Marchisio. All’andata a Bari abbiamo sofferto tanto per l’inferiorità numerica (per l’espulsione discutibile di Pazzini ndr). Un messaggio per Trapattoni? Ciao".

"Sono felice per il Nobel a Obama. Mi sa emozionare".
"There is a little emotion because it will be a key match, but nothing frenetic. We are going there to win, not for a solitary point, even if it would signify qualification for the World Cup. The week of training has gone very well. The only bad thing was the injury to Claudio Marchisio (out due to a knee injury that requires an immediate surgical operation).

During the first leg in Bari, we suffered a great deal due to the numerical inferiority (Pazzini was red carded early in the game). A message for Trap? Ciao.

I am happy for the Nobel Prize to President Obama. It moved me."

Marcello Lippi, manager of the Azzurri.
Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 9 October 2009.

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.
Azzurri Starting XI: 4-2-1-3

Buffon (captain)

Zambrotta, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Grosso

De Rossi, Palombo


Camoranesi, Iaquinta, Di Natale

Ireland Starting XI: 4-4-2


St. Ledger, Dunne, Shea, Kilbane

Lawrence, Whelan, Andrews, McGeady

Keane (captain), Doyle

First Half

Ireland came out very aggressively in front of a raucous home crowd at Croke Park, and were immediately rewarded. In the 8th minute from a free kick by Liam Lawrence, Glenn Whelan fired a rocket from 30 yards past Buffon. The goal unsettled the Azzurri, and the great Master Trap, sensed this as he pushed his players forward for the jugular. But in the 26th minute, Andrea Pirlo crossed a perfect ball that Mauro Camoranesi headed past Shay Given. The equalizer took the wind from the Irish sails, and allowed the Azzurri to control the game from that point forward.

Second Half

Just after kick-off, Vincenzo Iaquinta scored what appeared to be a valid goal; however, it was disallowed due to an offside position of Giorgio Chiellini. The game looked headed for a draw until a furious five minutes from the death. From a cross by Steven Hunt, a diving Sean St. Ledger headed the ball a foot off the ground past Buffon to give the Republic a seeming victory. But in the 89th minute, from a classic counter-attack, Pepe fed the ball to Iaquinta on the wing who then quickly found an unmarked Alberto Gilardino in front of the goal for the merited equalizer.

With this result, Italy wins the group and qualifies directly for South Africa. Since Cyprus defeated Bulgaria (4 x 1), Ireland will enter the play-off in November.


Ireland: Whelan 8' and St. Ledger 87'

Italy: Camoranesi 26' and Gilardino 89'

Mister Lippi After the Game on RAI
"We played with great intensity, personality, and quality. We had a good recovery after their second goal, and we deserved the draw. The spirit of this group is great. Regardless if a players starts, comes off the bench, plays a few minutes at the beginning or end, they all have the same desire.

The only two times that Italy has qualified with a game in hand (1982 and 2004), we won the World Cup. It is a good omen.

This was the fruit of 6 wins and 3 draws."

Key stats
courtesy of SoccerNet

Eire Italy

Shots (on Goal) 10(6)
20 Fouls 13
5 Corner Kicks 4
1 Offsides 4
47% Time of Possession 53%
2 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
5 Saves 4

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