The pressure on Italy Manager Marcello Lippi continues to rise after his side were beaten 2-1 by Mexico in Brussels last night. The world cup holders fielded a strong team despite Giorgio Chiellini and Mauro Camoranesi missing the game through injury. Vincenzo Iaquinta, Antonio Di Natale and Alberto Gilardino all featured up-front.
Arsenal fringe player Carlos Vela opened the scoring for Mexico early in the first half, latching onto a fine through ball by Giovani before firing his shot past a helpless Buffon. Although it was Italy who had the majority of the early chances, Mexico continued to threaten. Fernandez was about to double the advantage on 24 minutes after turning veteran Cannavaro, but a Criscito tackle came to the rescue for Italy.
Italy’s best hope of scoring seemed to be from set-pieces and just shy of the hour mark Leonardo Bonucci headed over unmarked from a corner. All eyes were on new Manchester United signing Hernandez, but he failed to impress, missing a glorious chance to put his side 2-0 up. A deserved second Mexico goal finally arrived as two substitutes combined. Mexico legend Cuauhtemoc Blanco delivered a magnificent chipped ball to play in Alberto Medina who finished emphatically by driving the ball into the corner.
With two minutes remaining Italy managed to get a consolation as substitute Salvatore Bocchetti hit the post with his first touch from a corner, but fellow defender Bonucci lashed home the rebound.
The focus seemed on Lippi’s team selection from an Italian point of view, but their lack-luster performance left a lot to be desired for. Although this was their first friendly, the Italians will need to sharpen up as they face Switzerland in their final warm up game, before heading off to Cape Town to begin the defence of their world title.
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