America, f*ck yeah! Gonna beat the Italians and save the f*cking day, yeah!
Well that's the plan. It's the 'Confederations Cup'. It may mean nada and just be an exercise to make sure those South Africans are ready for the big one next summer, but we care... And so does America! This is why I, Bigus am at your service this afternoon to talk you through all the action. Will Rossi jam a middle finger up at the natives of New Jersey? Will Landon Donovan turn up? Man up? By the way, why oh why oh why oh why are the MLS still playing games with it's best players on International duty? (Well, only 6) So many questions. After the jump, maybe some answers. Live blog ahoy!
Pretoria, South Africa. If yesterday is anything to go by expect a crowd of locals blowing traffic cones, or are those plastic trumpets? Anyway, sounded like a right din. Dancing away, high five-ing. We know you gave them free tickets South Africa, we know! All that was missing was thunder sticks! Still, the locals got to see Torres knock in a hatrick and a nice one too. Devalued though, by the awful defending of New Zealand, who quite frankly should be ashamed of themselves. The flight of the Conchords should hang their heads low today.
Early team news...
Italy have center back trouble. Get in America, this is your chance! But...Gattuso is back, booooooo.
Here are the line-ups for the last team both teams ran out to play International matches...
USA (W2-1 v Honduras, 6 June): Howard; Clark, Bocanegra (DeMerit 71), Mastroeni (Feilhaber 46), Onyewu, Dempsey, Donovan, Casey (Beasley 74), Spector, Bornstein, Altidore.
Italy (W4-3 v New Zealand, 10 June): Amelia; Santon (Zambrotta 66), Legrottaglie, Gamberini, Dossena, Gattuso (Montolivo 61), Pepe (Camoranesi 62), Palombo, Gilardino (Toni 60), Rossi (Pirlo 46), Quagliarella (Iaquinta 62).
TTR (That Traitor Rossi) will be looking to piss on his home country after deciding to play for Italy and not the old US, and after scoring against Northern Ireland he is gonna feel confident. I hope New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen writes a song about the little fecker and sells a billion records.
Last 9 games between the two: Six wins for the Blue floppers and 3 draws. Camon America? Don't you care?
Jose Altidore does. His face book status from 11am.
Jozy Altidore yall know what time it is!! 2:30 eastern time game vs Italy support us like you always do!
Wooo, Yall know that makes sense!
Today's referee is one 'Pablo Pazo'. Sounds like he could be a talking penguin from a popular Nickelodeon show, but no he is in fact a professional football referee. A quick butchers at google tells me nothing about him. Good old FIFA, another gem for sure.The assistant refs are also from Pazo's country which the BBC says is 'CHI'. Chille?
Lets hope the linos are better than yesterdays duffers. Lets be honest NZ got lucky that the muppet on the near touchline in the second half screwed up 3 times denying Spain 'one on one' opportunities.
One final note before we get under way. I am a retard, and there will be a whole bunch of spelling mistakes. I am well aware of my 'retard' status, so no need to point it out.
Who is going to be my ESPN team this afternoon? I wait with anticipation. A quick peek at the Soccernet site surprised me with a sneak attack. An embedded preview by that turnip Tommy Smyth. He says that Donovan is the key man and Italy are slow starters. Oh Tommy, will you ever learn? Whovever does the game today I am sure there will be the usual smattering of 'reverse flip headers' and 'line drives'.
Well, I'm settled in early, TV is on. Sportscenter just showed the teams arriving at the stadium. Team America must hate each other. All listening to music. Kids these days! Maybe they are all psyching themselves up? Adu did look as if he could have been listening to the Rocky 4 soundtrack. T-minus 30 mins folks and I promise no WAGs on this page Nathaniel.
Woah, my TV just switched over to record Little Bill. No harm done, ten minutes to go. Sorry Bigus Jnr. No Little Bill tonight mate.
Gennaro Ivan Gattuso
Daniele De Rossi
Mauro German Camoranesi
TTR is on the bench for Italy.
T-minus 5 mins. Get In.
BJ Upton, nice catch. Top Ten plays instead of build up. My oh my ESPN loves soccer so much. Titles underway. Glorious HD. Not a bad open that one. Seen worse.
Buffon looks old. Like one of yer mates dads. Lalas is talking about penetration. Being ugly and a ginger, I'm sure his experience is limited to football.
Ok we are nearly set for kick-off. Aghhhh the trumpets! Noooooo. Sounds like a bee hive. Damn you South Africa. Why do I find Landon Donovan so irritating? Is it just me or is he really a twat?
WE ARE OFF!
3 mins: Not much to talk about thus far. Italy are wearing a different shade of blue to the usual shade. Some header tennis and a low cross cleared by Demerit. Both teams given the ball away and Zambrotta has just slammed into Dempsey. Hello son!
8 mins:Italy being Italy, defence is pushing up and they are looking to play people in around the box. There is plenty of space behind the Italian defence and if the US can hit on the break then they may get a chance. Need to win the ball back first! Free kick on the edge of the box, left hand side, as Altidore gets knocked over by Gattuso. 25 yards out. Donvan touch and Dempsey blast 20 yards higher than the crossbar. These trumpets are really fucking annoying. I hope Dempsey clocked at least one of these human bees.
11 mins. Both teams being cautious with possession. Donovan skins Pirlo before passing to the cameraman behind the goal. Th US are having a bit of a spell. OHHHH. As I said that they give the ball away. Gattuso, Gilardino cusion header and a De Rossi volley at Howard from 22 yards.
15 mins. Altidore caught off side but he is certainly looking like he wants to be a pain to Legrottaglle. Camoronesi sends a teasing cross in and Onyewu deals with it. Us holding their own so far and this one is pretty even.
20 mins. Spector looks nervous and I'm not sure he is going to be able to contain Camaronesi who is switching from left to right at will. Pirlo takes a free kick out by the touchline and Legrottaglle sends a header wide of goal. Thats two half chances for Italy so far.
25 mins: Zambrotta plunks Dempsey for the second time. Clearly see him as a key player. Clark has been impressive in midfield. He hasn't stopped running. US not embarrassing themselves as expected.
What a chance! Bradley is played through by Donovan and then completely fluffs it. Shoot the ball with power man! Italy made it difficult but he has to do better.
Why would you want to blow a fucking horn for 90 mins? Why?
28 mins. Camoranesi has been allowed to send a few balls into the box this half and the latest effort finds De Rossi but to no avail. Straight to Howard.
31 mins. Oh my the US really needs to take advantage of what they are given. Donovan feeds Altidore and he decides to pass to the Italians chasing back. He needed to test the keeper. Onyewu is having a good game. Italy hits on the break and he shows authority and wins the ball back strongly. Pirlo takes a free kick from 35 yards and Howard concedes a corner. Resulting corner comes to nothing.
33 mins. Oh dear. RED CARD. Clarke has been sent off for a professional foul. He has completely spoiled his good performance to this point. The clowns on ESPN say it was a yellow. But folks. He slid in high and clattered Gatusso. Clumsy. Could have done some serious damage and there was no way he was going for the ball. Italy are up to their usual tricks. More attention for Dempsey and Donovan takes an elbow. He then takes a free kick and sends it high. Got his eye on the same horn blower as Demsey from earlier. Well, ten men with an hour to go? Oh lord. Pray people...Pray.
38 mins: Italy are making the most of the extra man advantage already. The US need to get to HT unscathed and regroup. Bornstein directs a ball passed Howard and the flag is up. Er.....The offside man is irrelevent here and thats an own goal. The ref denies Italy. Lucky escape.
40 mins: GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL USA. USA USA USA!!!
Altidore breaks into the box and tries to take Chielini inside. The Italian sticks out a leg and makes contact. Altidore hits the deck and penalty! Donovan, cool as a cucumber sends the ball into the bottom right corner and Buffon the wrong way. I have to eat some humble pie here folks. Donovan has been pretty good during this first half.
HT: After conceding the goal, there was plenty of desperation from the Italians but the US back 4 has been great this half and done a good job at keeping tight to De Rossi and Gilardino.
I still say that the own goal from Borstein should have counted. Half time 1-0 USA.
Right. Need a pee and get a fresh beer, hang tight folks.
@Phil and EF. Fellas, please. A yellow would have been nice and Clark was playing well, but he slid in with his foot high and turned it towrads Gatusso. Made hard contact. The ball was on the ground, it was dangerous. Lalas on ESPN is high. Says that the red was nonsense. Clark didn't complain because he knew! Lalas is a nut job and completely swayed by his passion for his country.
@Goat. The offside should be irrelevant and the ref should have ignored the flag and given the goal. The cross was coming anyhow and it was turned in. Borstein had his back to the Italian who was 15 yards away from him and he stuck out a leg. If the ball gets through, then it's offside. That my friend was an OG. Why should it be an offside?
46 mins: Ok folks we are back. No changes that I can see. We are underway.
@Phil. Just because he wasn't injured did not mean it's not a red.
50 mins: So far so good people. The US certainly do not look like a team with 10 men. In fact they are keeping the ball down and finding space. No parking the bus here. Dempsey tries to take on the Italians alone but gets stripped.
@ianseancahir. fair play but I still think the ref should have a gander at what's going on himself before blowing. Linesmen are usually linesmen because they are not good enough to be refs.
54 mins. Be proud America, your boys are doing a great job. Not sitting behind the ball and defending well. passing when they can and trying to find space. Corner. Iaquinta heading wide under pressure from Demerit, who has been outstanding today.
TTR sighting! He is on Camaronesi.
58 mins: GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLL OH NO. And its that traitor Rossi!!! What a disaster. He is allowed to run at goal and unleashes a deadly left footed strike from 25 yards. He just came on and shows NJ the finger. Take away his passport I say.
USA 1 ITALY 1
Montolivo on for Gatusso.
@TFA. I believe that if the ref doesn't blow so quickly he would have given it. We will never know. It all happened super fast.
62 mins: Rossi hangs back and gets another shot at punishing his home country? But he blazes a left foot volley high and wide.
65 mins: Altidore off and Charlie Davies is on. Clearly Bradley has no intention of hanging onto a draw. The fresh legged Davies likes to run off the shoulder of the last man and is an out and out forward. Italy are imposing their will now. They have taken control of this one and are now finding space out wide. Howard just made a good block before a shot flies over the bar.
69 mins: Gilardino off Toni on. Pirlo tries to send a ball into the box from a free kick and Donovan blocks it before chasing it all the way up the field. I will say it again, Donovan has been impressive today and I have bashed him for years. Today he has been very good.
71 mins: GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL De Rossi. It's been coming to be fair and the US have been clearing the ball for the last few minutes. De Rossi has acres of space, turns, picks a spot and shoots from 20 yards.
USA 1 ITALY 2. Sorry America.
Benny F off and Beasley on.
The ESPN fella just said that both goals could have been avoided. Hmmm...If you have a holding midfielder to close down players running at the defence. Ricardo Clark, where are you?
77 mins: One way traffic now. Crosses, clearances, crosses, headers. Davies and Donovan are alone and all they have now is to run with the ball. Dempsey shoots from distance but its no trouble for my mates dad, I mean Buffon.
80 mins: Now THAT was a penalty. Cross from Beasley and Legrotaggle leaps over Donovan in the box and flattens him, doesn't touch the ball and that is a penalty. But not according to the ref. Robbed of a point? 10 mins left.
85 mins: Italy have been their usual selves. They have pushed and pulled, nudged and knocked but they have also taken advantage of a stupid over zealous challenge from Ricardo Clark. That penalty call looks like it could have been the last hope. They have lots of space now and they are playing keep ball.
US sub: Sacha Kljestan for Bornstein.
87 mins: Sacha Kljestan just hit a shot just over the bar after some good possesssion. The US are not done yet but when they don't have the ball, its hard to get back!
@Goat. Yeah but its a Camaro.
90 mins: Howard just kept hope alive with a save from TTR. Glory chaser! Take away his passport and his Boss records!
92 mins. Howard keeps the US prayers alive. Luca Toni is on the end of a pass that sliced the US defence apart and his shot is saved by the Everton keepers legs.
93 mins: GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL TTR!! Bastard!
Great play by Pirlo who skips down the right, he's round the back and he chips the ball into the box for the arriving Rossi to volley home. He has one with his left and one with his right. Boy the USA really missed a trick with this kid from NEW JERSEY. Boy US Soccer are run by morons.
We are done. USA 1 ITALY 3.
Don't be disheartened America. You were brave today and played with a lot of heart. Clark's rash tackle ultimately cost you the game but you didn't believe that and gave all you had. Sure you were a little lucky not to concede an own goal but the challenge on Donovan in the box was an absolute given and should have tied the game. Italy were always going to dominate with an extra man, hell, they usually do without and they did for spells but the USA's effort was committed and admirable.
As for Rossi. How this kid from NEW JERSEY can play for Italy is beyond belief, not just because he was allowed to get away, but because he is tasty and set to star for Italy in a World cup for sure.
Well that's me done. Been a while since I did a live game, maybe I'll do another one really soon.
Good day, good people!