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Impressive win for the Mexicans...

Italy 1-2 Mexico

The criticism of Italy coach Marcello Lippi is almost certain to increase after Mexico put the Azzurri to the sword with a thoroughly deserved 2-1 win at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.

Carlos Vela opened the scoring early in the first half, and Mexico missed a number of chances to double their lead before substitute Alberto Medina finally made it 2-0 in the final 10 minutes. Defender Leonardo Bonucci scored a consolation for the hugely disappointing Italians, who were outplayed throughout, in the final minute.

With Italy having no official match action coming into this fixture, much of the focus was on coach Marcello Lippi’s squad selection. Having already cut Antonio Candreva and Fabio Grosso from his original 30, on June 1 he also released Salvatore Sirigu, Mattia Cassani, Andrea Cossu, Marco Borriello and Giuseppe Rossi from his final 23.

The World Cup holders fielded a strong team, although Giorgio Chiellini and Mauro Camoranesi missed the game through injury. Vincenzo Iaquinta, Antonio Di Natale and Alberto Gilardino featured up-front.

Mexico had promised to play a weakened starting XI, although dangerous attacking trio Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos all started.

Italy started strongly and were so close to taking the lead after just two minutes as Iaquinta headed against the crossbar following Andrea Pirlo's corner. Soon after, a fine Pirlo pass culminated in Di Natale lashing over.

Mexico's first chance arrived on eight minutes as some poor marking at a corner presented Gerardo Torrado with a clean shot from 20 yards which he fizzed a couple of yards wide.

This was a warning of what was to come as Mexico broke the deadlock on 16 minutes through Vela. The Arsenal striker latched on to a delightful Giovani chipped through ball and fired past Buffon.

Fernandez was about to double the advantage on 24 minutes after turning Fabio Cannavaro, but a Domenico Criscito tackle came to the rescue. Carlos Salcido then fired just wide as Mexico started to dominate.

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.

But it was Mexico who were playing all the football. Salcido launched a missile from 30 yards that missed the top corner by inches.


Each side made one change at half time as Simone Pepe replaced Di Natale for Italy, and Pablo Barrera came on for Rafa Marquez for Mexico.

Barrera squandered a glorious opportunity moments after his introduction as he was put clean through on goal from De Rossi's bad backpass, but the substitute chipped wide.

The North Americans missed another golden chance as Vela put the ball across the six yard box for an open goal, but Hernandez got it all wrong.

Mexico were laying siege to the Italian goal, and should have had a penalty on the hour mark after what appeared to be a clear foul from behind by Gianluca Zambrotta on Vela.

Italy desperately tried to change things, and Giampaolo Pazzini and Christian Maggio entered for Gilardino and Zambrotta. But it was Mexico who continued to carve openings and Vela almost got onto the end of a chipped pass.

A deserved second Mexico goal finally arrived as two substitutes combined. Legendary veteran Cuauhtemoc Blanco delivered a magnificent chipped pass 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, and fellow defender Bonucci lashed home the rebound for his maiden nazionale goal.

Italy pushed for an equaliser, but it was Mexico who should have reopened their two goal advantage as Buffon came to the rescue with a superb point-blank save from substitute Andres Guardado.

The Azzurri's final official friendly before their first World Cup group game against Paraguay will be on Saturday evening when they face Switzerland. Mexico, meanwhile, will be delighted with this impressive victory.

See the goals by clicking here.

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