In-form Mexico beat still unfit ItalyJune 4th, 2010 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS
Brussels, June 4 (DPA) Mexico displayed a fast and entertaining game as they beat world champions Italy 2-1 Thursday in Brussels a week ahead of their debut at the 2010 World Cup football.
Carlos Vela and Alberto Medina were on target in a fully convincing dress rehearsal for the Mexicans, who are to tackle hosts South Africa June 11 in Johannesburg in the opening game of the tournament.
Italy have plenty of room for improvement as their brisk start lasted only for a handful of minutes and produced a bar hit by Vincenzo Iaquinta as he nodded from close range against the bar.
A wide low shot from Gerardo Torrado on nine minutes signalled Mexico’s switch of gears, which gave them control of the game through most of the first half.
Vela’s goal in the 17th minute exposed the sluggishness of Italy’s defence, with only Fabio Cannavaro spurting ahead to trigger the offside trap as Giovani dos Santos fed the striker in the area for a great volley.
Buffon almost managed a deflection and later had to thank a last-gasp tackle from Domenico Criscito to block a dangerous effort from Javier Hernandez.
Defender Carlos Salcido fired a couple fast wide drives, while the Azzurri saw defender Salvatore Bonucci missed an inviting cross and Claudio Marchisio fire a central drive before the break.
A poor defence clearance in the 46th minute almost allowed Pablo Barrera to double up for Mexico, while Simone Pepe volleyed high after coming on for his Udinese team mate and Serie A top striker Antonio Di Natale.
Buffon was in trouble again in 52 minutes, but Hernandez failed to finish off a swift counter attack that again found the Italian defence struggling to keep their position.
Mexico’s second goal with six minutes to go owed much to a great assist from veteran Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who set up Medina to fire undisturbed past Buffon.
With two minutes left, Bonucci pulled one back for Italy after substitute defender Salvatore Bocchetti volleyed against the post.
Commentators noted that it was hard to find encouraging signs with 10 days left to the Azzurri’s World Cup debut.
“We come from 10 days (of training) in the mountains,” Italy’s coach Marcello Lippi said. “Today we came down to play against a team who have played seven games (lately).
“I know my players. They told me that they feel their legs heavy. It will be important to recover for the hard work in the next days. Had we played more than trained, we would have done better.”
The debut of the reigning champions at the World Cup is set for June 14 against Paraguay before Group F games with New Zealand and Slovakia on June 20 and 24.
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Tags: alberto medina, antonio di natale, carlos salcido, carlos vela, claudio marchisio, close range, criscito, cuauhtemoc blanco, deflection, dress rehearsal, fabio cannavaro, gerardo torrado, last gasp, offside trap, poor defence, sluggishness, target, team mate, world champions, world cup football