They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and all that glitters is not gold. You should also be wary of jumping to conclusions about the league season before the first 10 games have been played. “Dreaming isn’t forbidden” mused Cagliari owner, Massimo Cellino, as his side enjoyed a magnificent start to the season. Since then wheels have well and truly fallen off the wagon for the Sardinian side and they go into the Christmas break in 15th position having already sacked two managers this season alone – so what has gone wrong?
This evening’s friendly against Germany in Dortmund sees a match up that inspires memories of some of the greatest games in International football history. In the 1970, 1982 and 2006 World Cup – what I remember, off the top of my head – both sides played out some epic encounters. They’ve played some terribly dull games too, for example the Euro ’96 group game that saw a 0-0 draw eliminate the Italians.
Friendly matches are rarely played with the same sort of vigour and nervous tension that a competitive tournament game provides, but it is still a chance to see some of each countries up and coming players alongside their stars. Italy have often used friendly games to blood new players, introducing them to the national team, or to try out new formations and combinations of players.
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