View Single Post
Old June 19, 2010, 10:04 PM
al-Sagar's Avatar
al-Sagar al-Sagar is offline
Cricket Savant
Join Date: December 23, 2007
Location: The Quiet Place
Favorite Player: Curtly Ambrose
Posts: 27,469
Default Italy v New Zealand Preview

All Whites to keep the faith

Ricki Herbert's New Zealand claimed a surprising, last-gasp 1-1 draw against Slovakia in their opening game of the World Cup and are expected to stick with the same line up for Sunday's clash with defending world champions Italy.

With midfielder Tim Brown still to fully recover from a shoulder injury, Herbert will be hoping one of his regulars can recreate the goalscoring heroics of Winston Reid as the All Whites head into their greatest ever challenge.

But Marcello Lippi's Italy, who had to come from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw in their Group F opener against Paraguay, have a few issues to contend with and the 62-year-old coach was heard to launch into a tirade at his shot-shy strikers during training. As a consequence, Italy may well go with two up top in 4-4-2 formation as they go for the win.

The Azzurri also have to make changes at the back after goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was ruled out until the latter stages of the World Cup with a herniated disc problem, meaning Federico Marchetti, who came on at half-time against Paraguay, will start.

Italy player to watch: Gianluca Zambrotta - The ever reliable full back was the man of the match against Paraguay and provided the Italians with some much needed width. He makes intelligent runs and provides consistently good crosses into the box.

New Zealand player to watch: Shane Smeltz - The Gold Coast United striker got a taste for feeding on scraps against Slovakia and will have to do so again. However, he is the All Whites' best natural finisher and their top marksman in qualification with eight goals.

Key Battle: Claudio Marchisio v Simon Elliott - The Juve midfielder prodded and probed without too much end product against Paraguay and he needs to up his game against New Zealand to provide the supply to Italy's strikers. The man hoping to stifle Marchisio will be 36-year-old veteran Elliot, who remains the most influential man in the All Whites' engine room and is a defensive midfielder of considerable poise.

Trivia: These teams have only met once, in June 2009, when Italy won 4-3 despite having been behind three times during the match.

Stats: The Azzurri's second choice keeper Federico Marchetti, who will start in Nelspruit, has kept four clean sheets in six caps so far.

Odds: Italy (1.22), New Zealand (15.00), the draw (6.00) are all on offer at Bet365, but a 1-1 draw will get 13.00.

Prediction: After a relatively poor opening game Italy will be fully focused on taking all three points against the minnows of the World Cup. This could be a high-scoring game.
The OffStump
Tigers Forever