Italy Lose 1-0 To The USA But Remain One Of The Favourites For Euro 2012.

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A below par Azzuri failed to beat the USA in Genoa last night, but their strength has always been competitive matches.

Even though they dominated possession last night, Italy were unable to break down a well-organised USA team and suffered their second consecutive loss on home soil. Playing a short passing style and pressing the opponents high up the pitch, they spent long periods of the match in the right areas without finding the perfect pass or shot. A dangerous counter-attacking team, USA's gameplan was to soak up the pressure and hit on the break, and they were rewarded in the 55th minute when Clint Dempsey fired home.

Italy had plenty of chances, but with the opposition goalkeeper, Tim Howard, in commanding form it was a frustrating night for the team making their debut in the new PUMA away shirt. But supporters won't be too disappointed with the result. Italy have won four World Cups, one European Championship and one Confederations Cup, and have never worried too much about results in friendlies.

The Italian football mentality is one that historically thrives in competition, and a look at the statistics of the last year proves that this hasn't changed. Over the last 12 months Italy have played seven friendly matches, winning three, losing three and drawing one. Their record in competitive games is far superior, having played six, drawn one and won five.

It is also worth remembering that Italy are known for raising their game against big opposition. They defeated World and European Champions Spain 2-1 last August, and with players hitting form over the next few months they can look forward to achieving a good result against the same opposition in their first group game of Euro 2012 in three months time.

With Juventus pair and PUMA athletes Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini in great form in Serie A, Italy will be as defensively strong as ever this summer. Missing the prolific Antonio Di Natale last night, who has 22 goals this season and has just returned from injury, they lacked a focal point in attack. But with Mario Balotelli showing strong form for Manchester City recently, and di Natale back in action for Udinese, they have two strikers who can trouble any opposition in the world and will both want to add to their reputations this summer.
 

Football