Jurgen Klinsmann celebrated his first ever win over Italy as the German's USA team inflicted a well deserved and memorable 1-0 defeat of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ winners in an international friendly in Genoa today. The result was the first-ever win for an American side against Italy.
Fulham striker Clint Dempsey's second-half goal gave the Americans their fourth successive victory while Italy suffered a second straight loss at home. For Klinsmann this was a sweet result after his Germany side had come off second best to Italy in the 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-finals, while Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has said he is not worried by the loss.
"With 100 days to go before the European Championship, I am not worried, absolutely not," Prandelli said. "I liked the way the team played and the defeat was undeserved. We were more incisive after the break and raised the tempo.
The only mistake we made was to attack deep but at the wrong time, thus ending in an offside position often. With this spirit we will certainly have a great [UEFA] EURO 2012."
Italy's Sebastian Giovinco produced the hosts' first real chance when his effort forced US keeper Tim Howard into action. Then the Italians had the ball in the back of the net on 25 minutes only for Alessandro Matri's shot to be ruled offside by Turkish referee Firat Aydinus.
On 37 minutes, Italy captain and keeper Gianluigi Buffon - one of the few survivors of the 2006 semi-final win - could only palm away USA veteran Dempsey's stinging shot. Thiago Motta then saw his threatening half volley gratefully scooped up by Howard two minutes from the interval.
The sides went into the break after a first period in which the Italians were unable to capitalise on their superior possession against a committed US side. On 55 minutes the deadlock was finally broken when, against the run of play, Jozy Altidore did well to set up Dempsey, whose left-footed drive on the turn left Buffon with no chance at all.
Firm American resistance
Michael Bradley, son of Klinsmann's predecessor in the US hot-seat, Bob Bradley, and the only Italy-based player in the visitors' side was one of the stars for the United States, and only his timely tackle stopped the lively Giovinco in his tracks.
The Italians were having difficulty breaking through the stout US defence led by skipper Carlos Bocanegra and Bundesliga-based Steve Cherundolo, and despite late pressure, the US held on for a memorable win.
The loss will have given Italy coach Cesare Prandelli plenty of food for thought as he desperately searches for a strikeforce he can deploy ahead of the UEFA EURO 2012 finals in June.
Having successfully got them to the finals and rebuilt some of the damage done to their image after they became the first defending champions to exit at the first hurdle in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Prandelli has lost his three leading strikers.
Antonio Cassano is out because of a heart problem, while Giuseppe Rossi too is recovering after suffering a serious injury at the end of October and Cassano's replacement, Manchester City bad-boy Mario Balotelli, was dropped for his on-the-field behaviour.