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June 4, 2014
• 2:45 PM
• Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
Referee: D. Skomina
• Attendance: 28000
C. Marchisio 9'
M. Chanot 85'
A reasonable performance from Italy, but Prandelli's men just couldn't put the visitors to the sword. That's all that we have time for from Italy's surprise 1-1 draw with Luxembourg, I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you again next time.
FULL TIME! Italy fail to find the goals required to surpass European minnows Luxembourg, with Chanot's late header cancelling out Marchisio's opener. Hard fought result for the away side, who have really upset the apple cart tonight.
90' + 3'
Cerci races in behind Luxembourg's defensive line, but is wrongly called offside. Not that it mattered, as the Torino man fired his effort wide anyhow.
90' + 2'
PAROLO! The substitutes tries his luck from the edge of the area, but a slight deflection takes the effort off target. The resulting set piece is floated in, but Moris commandingly punches it clear of danger.
90' + 1'
Luxembourg continue to hold their lines and desperately cling on for a famous result. Italy have three minutes of stoppage time to find the winner.
Yellow Card Ignazio Abate
Italy win a corner, but Cassano's delivery is easily cleared. Luxembourg are desperate to hold out until the final whistle, but the home crowd aren't too impressed. They were expecting to see Azzurri thrash their opponents this evening.
ABATE! GREAT SAVE FROM MORIS! The former Standard Liege goalkeeper gets down to his left smartly to deny the former Torino man! Italy are pushing to take the lead once again, their fans demand it!
Yellow Card Maxime Chanot
Assist Mario Mutsch
Goal Maxime Chanot
GOOOOOAL! THE MINNOWS HAVE EQUALISED! Chanot rises brilliantly at the front post, nodding home Mutsch's corner delivery to snatch an unlikely equaliser! Great header!
Five minutes left to play and the visitors continue to press forward when they can. Chanot delivers from deep on the left, but Joachim is denied the opportunity to head home due to a good Chiellini interception. The away side have a corner.
CERCI! The Torino forward cuts in from the right hand side, before firing a low drive towards the bottom left corner. Moris gets down well to palm the effort behind for a corner. The Azzurri substitute has made a reasonable impact.
With less than ten minutes to go, there is belief with the away side's ranks that they can steal a famous draw here tonight. With tenacity and good energy, the minnows have managed to remain within touching distance of their World Cup-bound opposition.
AQUILANI! The Fiorentina midfielder makes a well-timed run to the near post to reach Insigne's cross, but can't turn the ball the correct side of the upright! He was under plenty of pressure, but Italy really need their second goal.
M. Da Graca
A few of changes for Azzurri, as Cerci and Insigne take to the field in place of Balotelli and Candreva and Ranocchia replaces Bonucci. Meanwhile, Luxembourg make their own change, with Da Graca entering the fray.
Cassano slides De Sciglio in behind Luxembourg's right-back, but Jans recovers well to make the sliding tackle and deny the Italian defender the chance to deliver. The resulting corner is swung out to Candreva on the right hand side, but the Lazio forward's effort is always rising.
Another half chance for Luxembourg, as they press down the left hand side, after Philipps beats Abate. The midfielder looks to squeeze a cross through the corridor of uncertainty, but Chiellini makes an important block.
Aquilani has barely been on the field for 30 seconds, but is nearly able to clip a good ball forward for Balotelli to chase. It's slightly too heavy, however, with Moris happy to watch it behind for a goal-kick.
Cassano picks up possession 25 yards from goal, but fails to thread Balotelli through on goal, leading to a break from the visitors. Da Mota swings in a cross from the right, but Joachim once again fails to get the finishing touch on the delivery.
Useful covering from De Sciglio, as the Milan full-back hooks away a clearance as yet another deep Luxembourg cross makes its way into the hosts' penalty box. It's still a tight game, with the minnows surely feeling that they've got half a chance as the clock ticks ever-closer towards 90 minutes.
Jaenisch whips a deep cross towards the far post, forcing Chiellini to nod the ball out of play for a throw-in. Bizarrely, it ends in a foul throw from Da Mota, as the substitute falls over in the process of launching the ball into the penalty area.
Cassano argues with the referee, after the match official incorrectly awards Luxembourg a throw-in on the near post - despite the ball clearly striking Jans last. Plenty of finger waggling from the Parma playmaker.
The away side keep threatening whenever Mutsch is involved, as the St. Gallen man keeps popping up all over the field. Plenty of time for Luxembourg to grab a goal, with Joachim grabbing their last versus Belgium.
Luxembourg try to find Joachim at the back post, but Buffon is quick off his line to claim the bouncing crossfield ball. Italy continue to see the lion's share of possession and look the more threatening of the two outfits, but are labouring offensively.
Half an hour to go and Italy still can't find the game's second goal. Balotelli presumably needs to hit the back of the net to give himself some confidence, but it just isn't forthcoming. Luxembourg keep hanging in there.
CANDREVA! It's the Lazio man's turn to hit the woodwork, with his flicked header makes its way onto the crossbar. The frame of Moris' goal is Luxembourg's best friend at the moment. Mutsch flashes a good ball into the back post area, but Joachim can't get contact to cushion it home!
BALOTELLI! HE HITS THE BAR! The Milan forward is threaded through on goal, before shimmying past the sliding challenge of Chanot with ease. He sets himself, before rocketing the ball onto the crossbar and over! The former Man City man can't believe he's missed!
Ten minutes into the second half and Luxembourg aren't showing the same fight which they managed before the break. Italy are playing with patience, probing for gaps and then dynamically exploiting them.
CANDREVA! After a quiet start to the second half, the winger drifts inside, before dribbling around Chanot and whistling a near post over just wide! Cassano strips off and readies himself to take to the field.
De Sciglio drives down the left before cutting a pass inside to Verratti, who looks to release Pirlo with a clever flick. It doesn't quite come off, allowing for Luxembourg to break upfield. They muster a 30 yard effort, courtesy of Holter, which Buffon smothers.
Yellow Card Chris Philipps
Philipps is penalised and booked for tugging on Pirlo's shirt as the experienced playmaker spun away from his marker and drove towards the edge of the penalty area. The Juve maestro has been deployed ahead of De Rossi in midfield and is enjoying his freedom.
BALOTELLI! Good defending at the back post from De Sciglio, as the Milan full-back cuts out a Da Mota cross and sparks a counter-attack. Eventually, the ball is worked to Balotelli on the edge of the box, but the Italy striker drags his effort narrowly wide of the target.
One change at the break, with Da Mota coming on in midfield for Luxembourg in place of Gerson. The home side have stuck to their guns, presumably due to Prandelli wanting his preferred eleven to get up to match speed. Marchisio is played in behind early on, but can't get a touch to the through ball to poke it beyond Moris.
D. da Mota
We're back underway for the second half! Spirits are high within the home support, but Prandelli will be hoping for a few goals to liven up this affair and inspire the native public. However, given the chances Azzurri have missed, it could easily be 3-0.
Luxembourg's substitutes are as follows: Bastos, Da Mota, Deville, Hoffmann, Joubert, Laterza, Luisi, Malget, Martino, Payal, Schinker, Turpel.
To give an idea of Italy's potential game-changers from the bench: Aquilani, Barzagli, Cassano, Cerci, Darmian, Immobile, Insigne, Motta, Paletta, Parolo, Perin, Sirigu.
Be sure to rejoin us in ten minutes time for all of the second half action, as Italy look to find their first win in five games and gain momentum ahead of the incoming World Cup. Holtz's men will be hoping for more of the same.
HALF TIME! Italy take a slender 1-0 lead in with them at the break in Verona, courtesy of an early header from Marchisio. Plenty of half chances for the home side, but the likes of Candreva and Balotelli just can't convert. Luxembourg valiantly battling to stay in the contest.
BALOTELLI! The resulting corner is taken short by Italy, before being fizzed into the near post with pace. Balotelli is the intended target and is found, but can only turn the delivery just the wrong side of Moris' upright!
GREAT SAVE! Schnell is penalised for dragging Balotelli to the ground from 25 yards out and this free-kick is within Pirlo range. The Juve man curls a great attempt towards the top left corner, but Moris is at full stretch to deny him!
CANDREVA! The Lazio man whistles an effort from the edge of the area narrowly over the crossbar! It all came from a good move from Italy, with Verratti once again the man to feed from midfield. The PSG man has been fairly bright.
Plenty of possession, but Italy are labouring going forward at the moment. Balotelli is being found in behind by long balls fairly regularly, but the quality of the Azzurri midfield isn't quite showing as Prandelli would like against lower opposition.
JOACHIM! The lone striker sprints across the width of the penalty area, before cutting back on himself and onto his right foot. He lets fly, but fails to get over the ball, ballooning his ambitious effort way over Buffon's crossbar.
Ten minutes until the break and Italy's fans will be hoping that the Azzurri can add to their lead. Balotelli has forced Moris into a couple of saves, but this hasn't been the siege that the home fans would have predicted.
Chanot shows a nice drop of the shoulder to take the ball past Balotelli, before opening up the play to Jans on the right flank. The away side haven't been as poor as their recent 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Belgium suggested.
Balotelli is found by a cross from De Sciglio, but Schnell gets ahead of the Milan forward to clear once again. He's being frustrated, with a couple of rather forceful challenges flying in on him moments earlier.
Luxembourg win their second corner of the game, which is half-cleared at the near post by De Rossi, but the away side have a second chance to deliver. Gerson meets the cross with a clever flick, but Bonucci makes the block to prevent Buffon from being tested.
BALOTELLI! Another big chance for the Italy striker, but Moris is able to get down smartly to make the save at his near post. After being slid through by Verratti, the angle was slightly too narrow and the pressure from Schnell too much.
Good covering at the back post from Abate, as the Milan full-back clears to deny Gerson the possibility of applying the finishing touch to a cross. Balotelli isn't moving particularly freely, not good news for Azzurri, hopefully it's just a bit of a knock.
Joachim goes down in the penalty area, after colliding with De Sciglio, but the referee waves away claims of a penalty for the visitors. It was clumsy from the Italy left-back, but he gets away with it. Moments later, Chiellini performs some solid defending, shielding a cross from reaching Joachim and then clearing the ball up the line calmly.
Mutsch is back to his feet, with the central defender able to continue. Italy are back in control, with the back four having plenty of time to pick their passes and supply the classy likes of Pirlo and Verratti. A bit of a lull in the contest, with Luxembourg reluctant to press too high.
The away side launch a direct pass up to the edge of the penalty box, but Chiellini covers across strongly to ensure that Mutsch isn't able to reach it. The defender goes down and requires some treatment on his left leg. He looks to be in some discomfort.
Joachim is struggling to lead the line on his own, with Luxembourg having to resort to sitting deep and in numbers. Azzurri are able to look for long, incisive passes from the midfield third, with Balotelli and Candreva often making good runs in behind the opposition.
Luxembourg enjoy a slick passage of play, opening the ball out from Chanot at left-back, to Philipps on the far side. They've got no penetration, but are showing glimpses of reasonable play. Candreva is found in behind by an excellent through ball by Pirlo, but the referee pulls the play back wrongly for offside.
De Sciglio plays a ball inside to Balotelli, who spins and tries to slide a cute pass through to Marchisio. It doesn't quick come off and Luxembourg clear. Sustained pressure from Azzurri at last, after a rather nervy opening five minutes.
BALOTELLI! The Milan striker is put through on goal by Candreva, racing into the penalty area, but a good sliding challenge from Mutsch puts pressure on the Italy hitman. He can only stab a looped effort over the crossbar. A goal-kick is awarded, despite a possible deflection off the defender.
Candreva is fed with a ball down the line, before the Lazio man tries to centre a delivery to supply Balotelli. However, the cross is too close to Moris, who collects with ease. Direct football thus far from Italy.
Italy are settling down with the home crowd really getting behind their side now. Prandelli's men are getting some joy via long balls in search of Balotelli, which is getting Luxembourg's defensive line turned with regularity.
Despite not starting this match brilliantly, Italy make the breakthrough to settle a few nerves. Marchisio started and ended the move for Azzurri, as the Juve midfielder looks to impress further forward. Though he sometimes lacks in quality, he never fails to deliver with effort and desire.
Assist Mario Balotelli
Goal Claudio Marchisio
GOOOOOOOAL! MARCHISIO GIVES THE HOSTS THE LEAD! Balotelli controls a through ball excellently, before picking out a brilliant cross with the outside of his right boot. It's a gorgeous delivery, which Marchisio plants beyond Moris and into the far corner. Italy lead 1-0!
JOACHIM! The Waalwijk man tries his luck from 25 yards, but can only fire a tame effort towards Buffon's near post. The veteran goalkeeper collects easily, before starting an Azzurri counter-attack. De Sciglio delivers from the left, but Candreva can't apply the finishing touch.
Italy look long quickly for Balotelli, looking to put the former Inter striker in behind to exploit the space behind the Luxembourg defensive line, but the lofted pass is overhit. Not a bad start from the away side, who are stroking the ball around but lacking any kind of focal point given their 4-1-4-1 system.
Luxembourg don't have a great deal of top flight experience, let alone quality at international level. Several of the players involved in today's starting eleven come from their country's top outfit of Fola Esch, but goals are few and far between throughout the entire squad.
Some nervy goalkeeping from Buffon allows for Luxembourg to win their first corner of the game, but the delivery is turned wide of the near post by Chanot. Italy are yet to get a firm foothold in the game.
De Sciglio states his intention from the start, with the Milan youngster gallivanting down the left flank but scuffing his eventual attempted cross. Italy will be wanting goals to settle their strikers' nerves this evening, with Luxembourg not posing a huge threat.
We are underway in the first half, with the home crowd expecting a performance tonight! Plenty of passion will be on show regardless of the occasion, but Prandelli will be keen for his side to show their capabilities to their supporters ahead of the journey to Brazil.
The national anthems have rung out in the stadium and we are moments from getting underway. Luxembourg are in their red strip, while Italy are in their white away kit. There is quite a reception for the hosts, with a jubilant and buoyant home support getting behind Prandelli's men from the off. Of course, the Italian players are in good voice.
Luxembourg starting line-up: Moris; Jans, Schnell, Chanot, Janisch; Holter; Philipps, Gerson, Mutsch, Bensi; Joachim.
Italy starting line-up: Buffon; Abate, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Sciglio; De Rossi, Pirlo, Verratti; Candreva, Balotelli, Marchisio.
TEAM NEWS: Luc Holtz opts for the same starting eleven as the one which lost 5-1 to Belgium last time out - though that game has been wiped off the slate due to Marc Wilmots using more than the regulation number of substitutes. RKC Waalwijk's Aurelien Joachim picked up the minnows solitary goal that evening and will lead the attack tonight too.
TEAM NEWS: Andrea Barzagli is struggling through injury, with Mario Balotelli starting despite having some groin trouble in training. Riccardo Montolivo is sidelined with a broken tibia picked up against Ireland last time out, while the likes of Mattia Destro and Giuseppe Rossi haven't been selected to travel to the World Cup. Marco Verratti gets a start in the centre of midfield, with Claudio Marchisio given a role further forward.
I'm Simon Harrison and I will be keeping you up to date with all of the action, as Prandelli's men look to find a much-needed win which will give his squad some momentum ahead of flying to Brazil. A few injuries hamper the hosts, but nevertheless there are runouts for those who possibly slipped into the coach's final cut.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Italy's international friendly against Luxembourg in Verona, as the Azzurri's World Cup squad get their first run out after the recent confirmation of their personnel by Cesare Prandelli. The away side haven't got much to play for, but will be keen to get some time to gel as a squad ahead of qualifiers for Euro 2016.
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