Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018

Soccer: Italy embark on Confederations Cup campaign


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, June 10 - Italy landed in Rio de Janeiro on
Monday to take part in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
The Azzurri were set for their first training session in
Brazil later on Monday ahead of a warm-up game on Tuesday
against Haiti.
Cesare Prandelli's men have their opening Confederations
Cup match against Mexico at Rio's fabled Maracana stadium on
Italy are in the same Confederations group as North
American champions Mexico, hosts Brazil and Asian champions
Italy have qualified for the Confederations Cup as
Euro 2012 runners-up because European champions Spain already
had a slot as they are the world champs.
The Cup, which takes place the year before a World Cup in
the host nation and features the world champions and the
continental champions, is not considered a major tournament.
But Italy's failure at the 2009 Confederations Cup proved
to be a foretaste of the then-holder's embarrassing group-stage
exit at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
So Prandelli has told his side he wants them to take the
competition seriously this time.
The Azzurri are top of European qualifying Group B for next
year's World Cup in Brazil with 14 points from six games, four
more than second-placed Bulgaria, after Friday's 0-0 draw away
against the third-placed Czech Republic.
"I love Brazil," Italy forward Mario Balotelli, who was
sent off in Prague on Friday, said via Twitter after the team
landed in Rio.
Balotelli has been at the centre of the umpteenth media
storm for his angry reaction to Friday's red card for two
He repeatedly kicked and punched the walls of the tunnel to
the locker rooms and then directed his rage at critics via his
Twitter account, telling them to support another country at the
The 22-year-old, who has a volatile temperament and a poor
disciplinary record, apologised via the @FinallyMario account
soon after.
"My reaction was not right, I apologise... SORRY... To my
team... I need to learn... still," tweeted the striker, whose
image as rebel has been cemented by his surly attitude and a
series of bizarre headline-grabbing off-field antics.
Last week Balotelli was also involved in a Twitter spat
with Usain Bolt after Jamaica's six-time Olympic sprint gold
medallist said he was not endeared by the soccer player's
Prandelli said he will have a talk with Balotelli about his
social-media usage.
"In the next days we'll talk about Twitter," Prandelli told
ANSA. "I liked the second message (with the apology) more.
"Mario must understand that he will always be subject to
provocation, like all the great players.
"If he learns, he stop opponents' games, otherwise he will
always be provoked".
The gate revenue for the Haiti friendly will go to help the
Caribbean country's reconstruction effort after the earthquake
it suffered in 2010.

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