Monday, June 15, 2009

Confed Cup: USA - Italy preview


Italy are making their Confederations Cup debut. The Azzurri beat New Zealand 4-3 in their last friendly, and needed a late brace from Vincenzo Iaquinta to overcome the spirited All Whites. Daniele De Rossi is likely to return to the first XI after missing the friendlies against Northern Ireland and New Zealand due to injury.

USA meeting with Italy in the 2006 World Cup, when the match ended in a tempestuous 1-1 draw, will give them confidence that reputations count for little on the pitch. An ageing Italy will have their task cut out against a spirited USA side, although Bob Bradley’s ‘brilliant’ team selection and tactics could gift this game to the Azzuri inside the first half.


The USA had a mixed week in qualifying leading up to the Confederations Cup. They lost 3-1 to Costa Rica, but then bounced back to beat Honduras 2-1. Coach Bob Bradley has some tough decisions to make as he seeks to field a team that could beat the Italians.

Jonathan Spector and Marvell Wynne are battling it out for the right back spot in the absence of Frankie Hejduk, and it is a three way race between DaMarcus Beasley, Jonathan Bernstein and Heath Pearce for the left back position. With Maurice Edu injured, we’ll probably see one of Benny Felhaiber or Gareth Clark partner Michael Bradley in midfield.

You can watch that game on TV3 if you're in Ghana - of course I'll be doing the punditry.

Elsewhere, you can watch it here.