Sunday, 20th June 2010
Underdogs Hold Top Dogs
Italy vs New Zealand
Can the fairy-tale story come true? Can the All Whites get a point
off the Azzuri; the World Champions? Stay tuned!
The shape of the ball might concern New Zealand, but at least the game
Proving that all is not bad when the ball is round in Kiwi Land, New
Zealand took the lead against the World Champions, with just six minutes played; when
Fabio Cannavaro diverted a free-kick for Shane Smeltz to tap-in past reserve goalkeeper,
The Italian defenders started playing like big babies, falling over,
clutching a chest here, a face there and generally trying to get New Zealand players
booked; especially as it already worked once. Not really the kind of antics to encourage
neutrals to want to see Italy go much further in the tournament.
They might like to fall down a lot but you can't keep the Italians
down; as Tommy Smith conceded a penalty for shirt-pulling on Daniele De Rossi, before half
an hour was even out.
After waiting for a little order to be restored on the edge of the
penalty area, Vincenzo Iaquinta calmly sent Mark Paston the wrong way.
As the American media might say, New Zealand go into the break
Substitutions started early in the second-half but not much changed
with the game. Of course Italy wouldn't be happy with a draw; although one point is better
Italy started to up the attacking movement in the last twenty minutes,
but Mark Paston was equal to the Riccardo Montolivo shot; even affording a moment to watch
the replay on a large screen.
Tommy Smith - so nice to see an Ipswich Town player back in the World
Cup Finals - has had an exceptional game in the New Zealand defence, and considering the
World Champions have only scored from a penalty (for shirt-pulling by Tommy), that's
In the 83rd minute, at the other end, substitute Chris Wood came oh so
close to planting past the outstretched Marchetti.
Well, Marcello Lippi asked questions about his Italy team at half-time
and had the courage to make the changes quickly; but he couldn't have known what answer
New Zealand would give.
The New Zealand fans all had the shirts off; swinging them around
their heads in the final minutes, oblivious to the South African winter chill.
Italy 1 New Zealand 1
0:1 Shane Smeltz (6 mins)
1:1 Vincenzo Iaquinta (29 mins) - penalty.
Man of The Match:
Ryan Nelsen - A solid inspiration for the underdogs from Down Under, against one of the
world's top dog football nations. Oh wait, Italy are still the World Champions.
12 Federico Marchetti; 3 Domenico Criscito, 4 Giorgio Chiellini, 5 Fabio Cannavaro, 19
Gianluca Zambrotta; 15 Claudio Marchisio, 22 Riccardo Montolivo, 6 Daniele De Rossi, 7
Simone Pepe; 11 Alberto Gilardino, 9 Vincenzo Iaquinta.
1 Mark Paston; 19 Tommy Smith, 6 Ryan Nelsen, 4 Winston Reid; 3 Tony Lochhead, 5 Ivan
Vicelich, 7 Simon Elliott, 11 Leo Bertos; 9 Shane Smeltz, 14 Rory Fallon, 10 Chris Killen.
Carlos Batres (Guatemala)
46 Mins (Italy) - 10 Antonio di Natale on for 11 Alberto Gilardino
46 Mins (Italy) - 16 Mauro Camoranesi on for 7 Simone Pepe
61 Mins (Italy) - 20 Giampaolo Pazzini on for 15 Claudio Marchisio
63 Mins (New Zealand) - 20 Chris Wood on for 14 Rory Fallon
14 Mins - Rory Fallon (New Zealand)
28 Mins - Tommy Smith (New Zealand)
87 Mins - Ryan Nelsen (New Zealand)
0 Red Cards.
Although we can't draw much conclusion from a one-off friendly match, Italy only narrowly
beat New Zealand (4:3); in Atteridgeville, 2009.
2010 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
Please take a moment to like
us on Facebook and share
with your friends on social