Fiji Times Logo

Fiji Time: 5:12 AM on Thursday 31 July

/ Front page / Sport

Warm-up test crucial

Ap
Friday, June 06, 2014

PERUGIA, Italy — Italy was held to a 1-1 draw by Luxembourg on Wednesday in its final World Cup warm-up match before leaving for Brazil, with forward Mario Balotelli looking in impressive form.

Claudio Marchisio headed Italy in front in the ninth minute after a splendid assist from Balotelli but Maxime Chanot levelled five minutes from time.

It was Italy's seventh successive match without a win, although the six draws and a defeat to Spain have all happened after securing qualification for the World Cup.

"This test is absolutely not a failure, we tried to do things we had practised in training," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said.

"But it's clear we have to improve. But we had to try certain things as we have very few matches.

"We know that we weren't brilliant, but we leave with the knowledge that we can have a great World Cup."

Prandelli had said Balotelli would amaze with his improved form and the AC Milan forward was involved in most of the Azzurri's best moves.

He went close to scoring on several occasions and hit the crossbar as Italy dominated.

Italy departs on Thursday and will play Brazilian club Fluminense in a final friendly match on June 8, six days before kicking off its World Cup campaign against England in Manaus.

Prandelli's side also faces Costa Rica and Uruguay in Group D.

Italy started brightly and took an early lead when Marchisio picked out Balotelli from near the halfway line.

The forward controlled the ball perfectly before crossing for the onrushing Marchisio to head home from close range.

Balotelli almost doubled Italy's advantage shortly afterward but a last-ditch tackle saw his effort deflected over the bar.

Luxembourg had barely troubled Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon but leveled in the final minutes when Chanot headed home Mario Mutsch's corner.

Ignazio Abate almost immediately restored Italy's advantage but was denied by Moris.


Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Iliesa Delana explains
  2. Help pours in
  3. Love from within
  4. Gaskell on trial for the murder of his Fijian wife
  5. Plea to save school
  6. Parents thank lucky stars
  7. Focus remains on education
  8. Call for intervention
  9. No water, no school
  10. Roadworks

Top Stories this Week

  1. Fijian woman jailed for stealing millions in NZ Sunday (27 Jul)
  2. Illegal Fijians in Tonga Friday (25 Jul)
  3. Hero's tale Tuesday (29 Jul)
  4. 10 degrees lowest yet Monday (28 Jul)
  5. Warning for teachers Thursday (24 Jul)
  6. New United formation Monday (28 Jul)
  7. Groenewald: Brutality video under investigation Thursday (24 Jul)
  8. Tafunai confident Friday (25 Jul)
  9. Sevens schedule revealed Thursday (24 Jul)
  10. Misleading phone deals Monday (28 Jul)