That Was, After All, a Friendly.
The United States did beat Italy, 1-0, in Genoa on Wednesday. However, that was not the Italy of four World Cup championships, and it probably was not the Italy that will play in the European championships in June.
If it had been Italy – you could say – the home team would have found some resourceful and maybe even nasty way to take the air out of the Americans’ tires to salvage at least a tie. But the Italians could not get that done. Therefore, logic dictates, that was not quite Italy out there, even with Andrea Pirlo chipping exquisite passes to all kinds of forwards.
Still, the Yanks were able to create the one sturdy goal that gave them the first victory ever against Italy, in 82 years of competition. The Americans had lost seven and drawn three until Wednesday.
Probably the best part of the victory was that Jozy Altidore did what he was not able to accomplish in 2010 in the World Cup in South Africa – that is, hunker down near the goal, control a neat centering pass from Fabian Johnson, and hold off the Italian defenders while Clint Dempsey slipped into position to take a pass and knock in the goal.
Altidore and the U.S. are still capable of playing stinkers in more important matches, as proven in the 2010 World Cup when after drawing with England they were held to a draw by Slovenia, barely survived with a last-minute victory over Algeria, and then were outplayed by Ghana in the knockout round.
It was good to see the stalwarts like Tim Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Michael Bradley, Carlos Bocanegra and Dempsey play solid ball with a lead. Jurgen Klinsmann’s trio of German-born recruits – Danny Williams, Terence Boyd and Johnson – displayed the depth of soccer in German, or rather the lack of widespread development in the U.S.
There have been revolutionary victories before – over Spain in the Confederations Cup in 2009, for example, and over Mexico in the 2002 World Cup, still probably the most important victory by the U.S. in half a century.
In the post-match interview Wednesday, Dempsey called the victory “ a confidence builder,” and he called the team “a work in progress.” He was right. Been there before.
2/29/2012 11:01:35 am
i think we should call the game what it was, a nice win. this was also the game that showed clearly who the next captain of this team will be.
2/29/2012 12:05:13 pm
I agree with you about the victory.
2/29/2012 12:16:41 pm
yes sir, michael bradley is the clear captains choice. what a mentality he has. he is only getting stronger and he will captain usa in multiple world cups. and after today, probably some top italian club team as well.
2/29/2012 12:29:51 pm
mr vecsey, im going to go watch and see if the u/23 can claim mexican scalp and make it a trifecta for the usa on the day. jack mac and freddinho. hopefully the defense will be able to control mexico.
3/2/2012 02:20:45 am
What a wonderful narrative piece, George. Once again, when you write about soccer, or in this case, calcio, as the match was played in Genoa, you write effortlessly, freely, without operative words, without equivications, without any selfconsciousness whatsoever. For somebody like myself, who barely understands the game, reading about the match was absolute joy, fun entertainment.
3/2/2012 08:32:30 am
the funny thing is that the italy of world cup victories is often not the same team that wins the actual event. the italy team of 82 did not win a game in the group stages, well, the first round of group stages anyway. and of course, only one team picked up points against italy in 06.
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“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.