Football: Klinsmann's USA shock Italy

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  • Thursday, March 1, 2012
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  • Us forward clint dempsey (r) celebrates after scoring during the international friendly football match between italy and usa at the luigi ferraris stadium in genoa
    US forward Clint Dempsey (R) celebrates after scoring during the international friendly football match between Italy and USA at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa.
    GENOA, February 29, 2012 (AFP) - Jurgen Klinsmann celebrated his first ever win over Italy as the German's United States team inflicted a well deserved and memorable 1-0 defeat of the 2006 World Cup winners in an international friendly here on Wednesday.
    Fulham striker Clint Dempsey's second half goal gave the United States 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 World Cup semi-finals.
    "It's historic for us to beat a team of this calibre," said Klinsmann.
    "It's a great win, but above all we came here to learn and to see how we'd get on tactically against a team like Italy.
    "And the boys have done really well, we've learned a lot. We were good in defence, Carlos (Bocanegra) and Fabian (Johnson) got on well.
    "We've got young players who are making progress. Brek Shay is one of our best talents but he is still playing in MLS at Dallas.
    "I sent him for a three week spell with my former coach Arsene Wenger (who coached Klinsmann at Monaco) and he said he was good but that he had a lot to learn."
    Italy coach Cesare Prandelli for his part said: "We didn't play very well in the first half, our pace was too slow, and we made one touch too many.
    "We had more vivacity in the second half."
    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 United States veteran Dempsey's stinging shot.
    Thiago Motta 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 broken when against the run of play Jozy Altidore did well to set up Dempsey whose left-footed drive left Buffon with no chance at all.
    Michael Bradley, son of Klinsmann's predecessor in the US hotseat, 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 Prandelli plenty of food for thought as he desperately searches for a strikeforce he can deploy ahead of the 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 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 badboy Mario Balotelli, was dropped for his on the field behaviour.
    Prandelli commented: "For two years we played with two strikers (Cassano/Rossi), now without them we have to see which forwards can finish off the work from midfield. If we played every week I'd find (the answer) in a month, but I really believe we'll find it between now and the Euros."


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