World Cup holders Italy were held to a draw by Switzerland in their final warm-up match in Geneva, before heading to South Africa. Manager Marcello Lippi and his side were looking for an improved performance following their lackluster 2-1 defeat to Mexico two days earlier, but this failed to happen and left The Azzurri without a win from both of their warm up games against teams competing in the world cup.
Udinese’s Gokhan Inler put Switzerland ahead in the 10th minute with a long range piledriver, but Fabio Quagliarella, a late addition to Lippi’s squad, levelled with a header four minutes later. Switzerland had three chances to win it late on. Eren Derdiyok headed wide from a good position before Alberto Gilardino did the same at the other end for Italy. As the game moved into the final five minutes, Hakan Yakin, a late replacement for Frei, sent a free-kick wide from 25 yards, while Marchetti denied Xherdan Shaqiri in injury time, parrying away his left-footed effort from 25 yards.
Italy will now board the plane to Cape Town in preperation for their World Cup group opener against a tough Paraguay side on June 16th, with added pressure on both the manager and the players; especially with playmaker Andrea Pirlo picking up an injury that may threaten his chances of taking part. Many of the Italian fans are calling for the head of manager Lippi after a string of poor performances, but the 62 year old will no doubt be looking to iron out the mistakes and lead his side to World cup glory once again.
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