Brazil And Italy Conjure Up A Majestic Contest

21 03 2013

It might be nine games and 16 months since Italy last won a friendly but Cesare Prandelli will be proud of the spirit the Azzurri showed to turn a two goal deficit into a draw against the much fancied Brazil.

Italy are notorious for their nonchalant attitude towards friendlies, an opportunity to test new players and tactics but no reason to arduously seek a good result, but this performance will put them in good stead for their World Cup qualifier against Malta next week.

In these non-competitive games we have become accustomed to witnessing dour contests lacking both intensity and personality, however the match in Geneva showcased two teams with World Cup winning ambitions, and both will gain confidence from proceedings.

Mario Balotelli and Neymar exchange shirts after the friendly in Switzerland.

Mario Balotelli and Neymar exchange shirts after the friendly in Switzerland.

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Low Expectations This Time Around For Portugal

27 05 2010

We are now at the stage before every major football tournament where punters are looking for decent odds on who could be a surprise package. After reaching the semi-finals last time around in Germany 2006, the Portuguese have long odds of 28/1 and would naturally attract your eye. However there are very clear reasons why they aren’t contenders this summer.

With the charismatic Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari at their helm at the last three tournaments, the so called ‘golden generation’ took the world by storm. At Euro 2004 in their own back yard the Selecção das Quinas reached the final and lost to Greece in one of footballs biggest upsets. However after losing to Germany and finishing fourth in the World Cup, the last of a crop of superstars including Luis Figo and Pauleta withdrew themselves from the international scene. The players were clearly missed as they were knocked out in the first round of Euro 2008 by the Germans once more.

Ronaldo has attracted criticism from the Portuguese faithful

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