ITALY 1 Bonucci 88
MEXICO 2 Vela 16, Medina 83
With the World Cup just a week away, one would have hoped for an encouraging result in the friendly match against Mexico. Mexico beat Italy with ease and ended the Nazionales eight match international unbeaten streak, securing their first ever victory over the Azzurri. Italy were without Giorgio Chiellini and Mauro Camoranesi, the absence of the former painstakingly apparent at times – the Juventus man was arguably the best player they had last season, helping the Bianconeri whenever he could with his dominance and height.
The game started off rather brightly and the Italians looked like they were ready to defend their crown when on the third minute Andrea Pirlo whipped in one of his trade mark corners. Vincenzo Iaquinta’s header was pushed onto the crossbar and Alberto Gilardino nodded the follow up over the bar. Gilardino was not surprised by the eventual defeat putting the blame squarely on the fact that the Nationale team had been suffering from tired legs due to the intensive training they had all been doing for the past 15 days in the mountains at Sestriere.
Italy were trying to accustom themselves to the kinds of altitude they would be forced to play in whilst in South Africa. However Gila, who had scored 15 goals for Fiorentina should have put it in the back of the net and maybe that could well have changed the outcome of the game. Worse was to follow for the Azzurri in the 16th minute, when Carlos Vela slotted home the opener for Mexico. An intelligent ball by Giovani Dos Santos went right over the defence and found Vela who sprung the off- side trap between the centre- backs and there was nothing Gianluigi Buffon could do, other than watch it hit the back of the net.
The Azzurri took the first blow badly and started to play with their heads down ,while El Tri were moving the ball around with ease. The World Cup holders, however, had a number of opportunities, the best seeing Andrea Pirlo’s dangerous free kick palmed away by Oscar Perez. Italy would come to regret these missed chances in the 83rd minute when Alberto Medina sprung the off- side trap, kept his cool and flashed the shot past Buffon at a very tight angle. Italy eventually got a goal but it was purely a consolation as Leonardo Bonucci bundled home his first Italy goal from a chaotic corner. It was too little too late and even with five minutes of stoppages the Azzurri couldn’t get the second and it ended 2-1 to Mexico. This match should give Marcelo Lippi a lot to think about, especially the defence as both of the goals came from the defence not being able to trap the players off- side.