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"In any language, the whole world is united by a ball." --- Steve Amoia, World Football Commentaries

Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup 2010: Italia 1 x New Zealand 1 from Nelspruit: "Yes, we have everything to lose." Marcello Lippi

Marcello Lippi
provided his thoughts ahead of the second group round game for the Azzurri against the All Whites of New Zealand from Nelspruit.

Everything to Lose

"Sì, abbiamo tutto da perdere: il passaggio del turno. Per cui lavoreremo sodo".
"Yes, we have everything to lose: the passage to the next round.
For which we will work hard."

June 15, 2010 - Centurion, South Africa - epa02203604 Italian head coach Marcello Lippi, during the training session in Centurion, South Africa, on 15 June 2010. Italy plays against New Zealand on 20 June.
Field testing the adidas Jabulani.

Azzurri are Ready for a Physical Side in New Zealand

"La squadra è cresciuta sia fisicamente che psicologicamente, penso sia pronta. La Nuova Zelanda non la dobbiamo temere sul piano tecnico, ma della fisicità, ad esempio dei colpi di testa. Serve attenzione. Specie sui calci piazzati. Dobbiamo giocare in velocità, con palla bassa".
"The team has grown physically and psychologically. I think it is ready.

We don't have to fear New Zealand on a technical plane, but on physicality, for example, headers. It grabs your attention. Especially on free kicks. We have to play quickly with the ball on the ground."
On the Bad Results by Favorites in South Africa

"Questi risultati inattesi dimostrano che quando inizia il Mondiale tutto quello che si è detto o è successo prima si azzera".
"These unexpected results demonstrate that when the World Cup starts, everything that was said or happened before is erased."
Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, June 19, 2010.

Both teams played a friendly last year before the Confederations Cup that was won, 4 x 3, by the Azzurri after being pushed more than expected by the All Whites.

Regretable Scoring Form of Late

In the last six matches, only one striker has scored a goal: Fabio Quagliarella against Switzerland. Mr. Lippi needs to address this problem and likely will pair Giampaolo Pazzini with Alberto Gilardino against New Zealand.

Azzurri Starting XI: 4-4-2


Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Criscito

Pepe, De Rossi, Montolivo, Marchisio

Gilardino, Iaquinta

Manager: Mr. Lippi

New Zealand Starting XI: 3-4-3


Reid, Nelson, Smith

Bertos, Vicelich, Elliot, Lochhead

Fallon, Killen, Smeltz

Manager: Mr. Herbert

Referee: Mr. Batres of Guatemala.
Koman Coulibaly of Mali is the 4th referee today... Strange choice by FIFA after the situation at Ellis Park on Friday.

Italian Anthem

First Half

Both teams began with a fast pace, but New Zealand shocked the Azzurri with a goal in the sixth minute by Shane Smeltz. A free kick was not cleared properly by Cannavaro and Smeltz pounced on it and shot past Marchisio to give the All Whites the early lead. Smeltz appeared in an offside position although it was very close.

New Zealand's Shane Smeltz (L) scores a goal during their 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match against Italy at Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit June 20, 2010. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Shane Smeltz gives the All Whites an early lead.

The Azzurri looked stunned but kept pushing forward. Chiellini missed a good chance and Montolivo struck a post. Italy controlled possession but the All Whites looked calm and secure. But then a strange call changed the game. De Rossi was slightly held in the area by Smith in the 28th minute. The referee, Mr. Batres, pointed to the spot. De Rossi's dive no doubt forced the issue. Iaquinta took a well-placed spot kick past Paston for the equalizer.

De Rossi had a near miss as the half ended. Ball possession was 75% to 25% in favor of the Azzurri according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Shots on goal were 11 to 1 for the Azzurri.

June 20, 2010 - Nelspruit, South Africa - epa02212773 Italy's Vincenzo Iaquinta scores with a penalty the 1-1 equalizer during the FIFA World Cup 2010 group F preliminary round match between Italy and New Zealand at the Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit, South Africa, 20 June 2010.
Vincenzo Iaquinta scored from the spot after
a controversial foul on De Rossi.

Second Half

Camoranesi and Di Natale came on for Pepe and Gilardino. Di Natale had an immediate impact with a spinning volley that came very close to beat the keeper, Paston. A few minutes later, Pazzini came in for Marchisio. Lippi was going for the win with three strikers. At the same time, Chris Wood came on for Rory Fallon.

Cannavaro made another mistake and cleared the ball directly to Vicelich at the top of the box who took a great shot that nearly missed. New Zealand was defending brilliantly with great organization and compactness. Montolivo took a shot from outside the area that was parried by Paston. One could sense desperation with the Azzurri who had all of the ball possession.

In the 83rd minute, Chris Wood almost wrote his entry in World Cup history. He barely missed from the left side with Marchetti beaten. Camoranesi had an equally good effort that was parried by Paston. The match ended, 1 x 1.

New Zealand's goalkeeper Mark Paston makes a save during the 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match against Italy at Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit June 20, 2010.  REUTERS/Jerry Lampen (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
Mark Paston, the man of the match.

A historic and well-deserved result for the All Whites. The Azzurri face elimination and must wait for last game against Slovakia to learn their fate.

  • This is the first time since 1986 that Italy have only achieved two points from their first two World Cup encounters. They progressed to the round of 16 but were eliminated by France (0 x 2).
  • The last time that Italy exited at the group round phase was during the 1974 World Cup.
  • Fabio Cannavaro equaled Dino Zoff with 17 World Cup appearances for second on the all-time Azzurri list behind Paolo Maldini.
For more coverage, please view my article on Soccerlens.

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