Fielding equally strong sides for yesterday’s international friendly against the Elephants of Ivory Coast, Cesare prandelli tasted defeat in his first match as Azzurri boss.
Italy lost by a single Kolo Toure goal in the 55th minute as the the Manchester City defender rose above everyone to connect with Guy Demel’s perfect cross from the right to head the ball past Italy’s goalie Salvatore Sirigu.
This result will of course be the main talking point for this football mad nation that is still coming to terms with its humiliating exist at the group stages of the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Inter’s bad boy Mario Balotelli earned his first cap for the senior side with Antonio Cassano also returning to the team. The only notable absentee was AC Milan’s Andrea Pirlo.
Yesterday’s loss increases Italy’s August friendly losses to five in the last nine years. With Euro 2012 qualifiers set to begin in the coming weeks, Italy needed a positive result to increase their morale ahead of tough fixtures against Estonia and the Faroe Islands.
Cesare Prandelli has however brushed off the loss saying that he was not to worried about the result.
“If memory serves me, even [former Italy coach Marcello] Lippi had a loss during his debut match,” the former Fiorentina tactician told Rai after the game. “I hope that it brings us good luck.
“The players gave it everything they had with only two days in training.
He was however quick to praise both Balotelli and Cassano.
“[Antonio] Cassano did well, [Mario] Balotelli was making his debut, but I saw him do some good things.
On the future of the national team, Prandelli had this to say.
“But one thing we must do is improve our quality of play, but we have lots of time to improve on this. We must also provide better support for the three players up front in attack.”
Photo credit: from Nove foto da Firenze