Mexico vs. Italy  1 - 2


Mexico coach denies strip club visit

20 June 2013 03:35

Jose Manuel de la Torre has moved to dismiss rumours his Mexico players visited a strip club while on Confederations Cup duty.

Reports in Brazil suggested the Mexico squad visited a strip club after their 2-1 loss to Italy on Sunday but their coach has denied the claims.

"No. We don't have a report on that. It's not like there's even time to do that," he said.

A 2-0 loss to Brazil on Wednesday ended Mexico's participation in the competition at the group stage but the 49-year-old said their campaign was not a failure.

"Failure? This is not a failure. Failure is when you stop fighting, we simply did not achieve a goal. Final results are always fair. This one was," he said.

"They played a good game, the team. This was a very good opponent and individual talent made the difference for them.

"We had some good approaches on goal. The team showed great character."


Prandelli undeterred by plucky Mexico

17 June 2013 01:39

Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli has claimed his team was 'never scared' they would lose to Mexico in their Confederations Cup opener.

While Mexico head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre claimed Italy's narrow tactics made them 'predictable' and allowed the Mexicans to control general play, Prandelli insisted the match 'went according to plan'.

Italy took the lead in the first half thanks to a stunning free-kick from Andrea Pirlo but Mexico equalised before the break through Javier Hernandez's 34th-minute penalty, before Mario Balotelli slotted the winner for Prandelli's team with 12 minutes remaining.

"Mexico were trying to counterattack whenever we made a mistake but I think we had a great game," Prandelli said.

"We were never scared that we might not win.

"When they equalised, we had to start all over again but we stayed alert, kept our strength and managed to strike the right chords.

"We never gave away the ball and outnumbered our opponents in various areas of the field.

"It went according to plan so I'm very happy."

Despite losing their first match of the warm-up tournament for next year's World Cup finals, de la Torre argued Mexico defended well against Italy.

But the 47-year-old Mexican head coach bemoaned his team's inability to control possession.

"We made a lot of mistakes and gave away possession easily which proved costly," de la Torre said.

"We obviously looked at their team before the game and pulled their tactics apart a little.

"They were always looking to create spaces in front of our defence but that makes you predictable, fortunately for us those plays did not cause havoc and we managed to control the situation well."

Mexico will face tournament hosts Brazil next, while Italy will take on Japan.


FIFA Confederations Cup: Mexico 1 Italy 2

16 June 2013 22:55

Mario Balotelli struck late on to give Italy a winning start to the FIFA Confederations Cup, as they overcame Mexico 2-1 in Rio de Janeiro.

Andrea Pirlo, on his 100th cap, opened the scoring with a picture-perfect free-kick, but Javier Hernandez levelled affairs from the penalty spot after he had been felled in the area by Andrea Barzagli.

But the Milan striker stole the headlines after a night that had seen him largely frustrated by Mexico goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona, latching on to Emanuele Giaccherini's pass before tucking home.

Stephan El Shaarawy was the only absentee for Italy, an ankle injury sidelining the Milan forward so Claudio Marchisio began in support of Balotelli. Mexico were forced into changes in their midfield as Giovani dos Santos and Javier Aquino replaced Pablo Barrera and Aldo de Nigris.

Italy began the game the stronger as Claudio Marchisio broke down the left wing before rolling the ball to Balotelli in the six-yard box, but Corona flung himself in front of the effort to deny the 23-year-old.

The UEFA Euro 2012 were not dominant, however, and Gianluigi Buffon was called into a stunning save from Andres Guardado as the Valencia winger caught Dos Santos' cut-back with a sweet effort, but the Italy captain did brilliantly to tip the ball onto the crossbar.

Cesare Prandelli's side did take the lead though, as Pirlo curled an unstoppable 25-yard free-kick into Corona's right-hand corner, and although the Mexico shot-stopper appeared to withdraw his hands from the save, he was well beaten.

However, the lead did not last long as Barzagli was robbed on the edge of the area by Dos Santos and, as the striker moved into the penalty area, bundled him over with referee Enrique Osses given little option but to award the spot-kick. Hernandez stepped up confidently and sent Buffon the wrong way to equalise and record his 33rd international goal.

After the break, neither side were able to create many clear-cut chances, but Riccardo Montolivo should have scored after Pirlo's low free-kick rebounded his way in the six-yard box, but the Milan player could only prod straight to Corona.

Italy's dominance of the match continued with Buffon a mere spectator in the second period and their pressure paid off with 12 minutes remaining as Balotelli secured the win.

The striker held off the challenge of Francisco Rodriguez on the edge of the penalty area to latch onto Giaccherini's flick, he beat two defenders to the ball and thundered a strike past Corona.

Prandelli's side saw out the game superbly and will take great confidence into their remaining Group A fixtures against Spain and Uruguay.


Pirlo confident of Italy´s Confederations Cup chances

16 June 2013 21:05

Andrea Pirlo is confident that Italy can enjoy a strong FIFA Confederations Cup campaign, and is delighted to have reached 100 caps.

The Juventus playmaker reached a century of international appearances against Mexico in their tournament opener on Sunday.

Italy confounded expectations to reach the final of UEFA Euro 2012, although they were comfortably beaten 4-0 by Spain, who are in Group B of the tournament in Brazil.

With Italy likely to return to South America for the FIFA World Cup in a year's time, Pirlo is keen to lay down a marker.

He said: "Our goal in the Confederations Cup, as always in these important competitions, is to play well and try and reach as far as we can.

"We know we have what it takes to try and make it, and that's why we're ready to start the competition."


Mexico 1-2 Italy: Balotelli fires winner in Rio

16 June 2013 19:55

Italy left it late to get their Confederations Cup campaign off to a winning start by defeating Mexico 2-1 at the Maracana on Sunday.

The Azzurri dominated large spells of the first half and the game appeared to be going according to plan when Andrea Pirlo, on his 100th cap, curled in a breathtaking free-kick to break the deadlock after 27 minutes.

But a horrendous mistake by Andrea Barzagli saw him concede a penalty seven minutes later, from which Javier Hernandez converted coolly to level the scores before the break.

Mario Balotelli would spare Italy's blushes 12 minutes from time though, powering through towards goal and finishing to secure all three points and keep his side on pace with Group A leaders Brazil, who beat Japan on Saturday.
Ten out of the 11 members of Italy’s starting lineup were on the books of either Juventus or AC Milan, with Daniele De Rossi of Roma the lone exception. For Mexico, Giovani dos Santos and Javier Aquino returned to the XI after sitting out the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica, while Gerardo Torrado began in midfield for his 141st cap. Italy controlled the initial exchanges, as Balotelli and Emanuele Giaccherini narrowly missed, before the former’s low drive forced a save out of Jose de Jesus Corona, who lapped up the rebound at the feet of the latter. It seemed like only a matter of time before they took the lead, but Mexico fired a warning shot back in their direction when Dos Santos slipped in Andres Guardado at the top of the box, who rattled the bar with a ferocious effort. With a quarter of an hour gone, Pirlo was then chopped to the turf inside the area after pressure from a pair of Mexico defenders, but the referee ignored the frantic Italy appeals for a penalty. But Pirlo would soon get his revenge, and after Italy were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal, the newly-minted centurion stepped up to bend magnificently into the top corner. Italy’s joy was short-lived, however, as hesitation from Barzagli allowed Dos Santos the chance to nip the ball off his toes and he was promptly fouled inside the area by the defender in an attempt to cover his mistake. And Hernandez made no mistake from 12 yards out, sending Gianluigi Buffon the wrong way with a low strike to the right corner. Moments after the restart, Pirlo nearly caused more damage with another set piece from just outside the box, which was deflected into the path of Riccardo Montolivo, who could not beat Corona from a few yards out. But despite the Milan midfielder’s irrepressible threat from any free kick within 40 yards of goal, the second half did not quite progress in the swashbuckling manner as the first. With an hour gone, Italy were denied another penalty after Balotelli appeared to be pulled back inside the area by Hector Moreno, only for the referee to wave play on, much to the striker’s fury. Mexico appeared to have abandoned all interest in attacking, and seemed content to sit deep and soak up the Italian pressure, which mostly manifested itself in little more than catching practice for Corona. But on a rare foray forward, Dos Santos won a free kick near the corner flag, from which Guardado delivered into Gerardo Flores, who narrowly missed the target with his head. The match seemed to be petering out to an inevitable draw, but in the 78th minute, with one show of strength, Balotelli turned past Francisco 'Maza' Rodriguez and drilled past Corona with aplomb.

Mexico rallied late on in the opposition half, but fell flat as Buffon was not called into action, and Cesare Prandelli's men closed out the game to seal an important victory.


Mexico primed for cup campaign

16 June 2013 05:26

Mexico head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre has argued his team are looking forward to letting off some steam and winning the Confederations Cup.

In CONCACAF's final round of qualifying for next year's World Cup final in Brazil, Mexico have started in uninspiring fashion with five draws and a win from six matches to sit third on the standings, two points adrift of leaders the USA.

While De la Torre concedes his side will have to be in top form to overcome the likes of Spain, Italy, Brazil and Uruguay at this month's Confederations Cup in Brazil, the 47-year-old Mexican coach maintains his team is aiming high.

De la Torre believes Mexico will benefit from a break from World Cup qualifying after consecutive goalless draws with Costa Rica and Panama.

"We know that we are in a difficult situation in our qualifying group for the World Cup but this is a different tournament," De la Torre said in the lead-up to Mexico's opening Confederations Cup clash with Italy.

"We are looking at it in a different way.

"The team has released all that pressure that we have over our qualification and we are here to enjoy it and, of course, as we do in every tournament to try to do our best and try to win.

"We know it is not going to be easy due to the quality of the national teams participating but our intention is to win as it has always been in any tournament."

Mexico are also grouped with Brazil and Japan, with the hosts having won their opening match against Japan 3-0 on Saturday.


FIFA Confederations Cup Preview: Mexico v Italy

14 June 2013 11:20

Mexico tackle Italy in their first FIFA Confederations Cup outing at the refurbished Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.

Italy may be without 20-year-old striker Stephan El Shaarawy after he failed to train on Thursday because of a muscle injury.

With that in mind, coach Cesare Prandelli will most likely opt for the attacking trio of Claudio Marchisio, Emanuele Giaccherini and El Shaarawy's Milan team-mate Mario Balotelli to test the Mexican defence.

Balotelli had also been an injury doubt for the game, but Prandelli expects the former Manchester City man to be fit enough to lead the line.

"As far as Mario goes, there's a good chance he'll be on the pitch tomorrow. Let's wait for the last training session, although the feedback we're getting seems to be very positive," he said.

Prandelli went on to admit that his players cannot wait to take to the field at the iconic Maracana arena.

"We are very excited to play in the Maracana - a place we have always been dreamed about. We want to put in a great performance and win this game," the former Fiorentina boss added.

Despite boasting just one defeat in 11 past encounters with Mexico, Prandelli warned his players of the sort of defensive complacency that saw them draw 2-2 with tiny Caribbean nation Haiti in a friendly earlier in the week.

"We'll be starting against Mexico, who tend to play with lots of intensity, combining technique with speed. The Mexicans aren't here by mistake - they have quality in their team, particularly in attack," he added.

Mexico have struggled for form of late, but Italy sit atop their FIFA World Cup qualification group and look set to seal an automatic place at next year's showpiece in Brazil.

By contrast, Jose Manuel de la Torre's side have scored just once in their last four qualifying games, but with Javier Hernandez, Giovani dos Santos and Andres Guardado heading their attack, there will undoubtedly be some tough questions asked of Italy's defence.

The match could be the tightest affair in the opening round of games which sees hosts Brazil take on Japan, Spain meet Uruguay and Nigeria taking on Tahiti.


Mexico-Italy Preview: Azzurri searching for first victory against El Tri in 43 years

13 June 2013 22:14

Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre could be tempted to make several changes to the side which played out a lacklustre 0-0 draw with Costa Rica in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

Mallorca attacker Giovani dos Santos started that match on the bench and the 24-year-old is expected to replace Guadalajara striker Aldo de Negris in a tactical change which would see el Tri change to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Elsewhere Gerardo Torrado is looking to make his 142nd international cap in the heart of midfield whilst Javier Aquino could replace Pablo Barrera.

Mario Balotelli is eligible for Italy despite picking up a red card in the World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic last Friday although AC Milan teammate Stephan El Shaarawy is still nursing a minor ankle injury.

Cesare Prandelli has opted for a 4-3-2-1 formation in his training sessions this week with Juventus duo Emanuele Giaccherini and Claudio Marchisio supporting Balotelli.

Mattia De Sciglio could be given the nod to start at left-back as Prandelli looks to give some of his younger players international experience, although Giorgio Chiellini could be shifted out wide with Leonardo Bonucci in the centre.

Italy made their Fifa Confederations Cup debut in 2009 but defeats to Brazil and Egypt ensured that Marcello Lippi's side were knocked out in the group stage.

Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored a joint-tournament record six goals en route to Mexico's 1999 Confederations Cup triumph, when the the hosts defeated Brazil 4-3 in the final.

The Azzurri eliminated Mexico from the 1970 World Cup but have failed to beat el Tri in their following four encounters, losing two and drawing two.

Cesare Prandelli's side have lost only one of their last 11 internationals - a 2-1 friendly defeat to France back in November.

Jose Manuel de la Torre's outfit are unbeaten since a 1-0 friendly defeat to USA last August - a run stretching back 13 games.

Andrea Pirlo is set to make his 100th international appearance.