There were chants of "USA" in Genoa, Italy, as the U.S. beat Italy for the first time ever in Wednesday's friendly. Clint Dempsey continued the season of his career by scoring the match's only goal in the 55th minute with a great setup from Jozy Altidore. The U.S. then withstood a barrage of shots from the Italians to hold on for the biggest win in their first 10 matches under new manager Juergen Klinsmann. And they were able to do it even with Landon Donovan unable to play due to illness.
When the U.S. last faced Italy, it lost convincingly by a score of 3-1 in the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa before going on to shock the world by beating top-ranked Spain. In the group stage of the 2006 World Cup, which Italy went on to win, the U.S. took a 1-1 draw against the Azzurri thanks to a Cristian Zaccardo own goal.
Dempsey's goal made him just the fourth American to ever score against Italy and the first to do it from the run of play (i.e., not a penalty) in the last 20 years. It was also the first time the U.S. achieved an away win against a team that has won a World Cup. And since the Americans did it while debuting their new dark blue away kit, they might have just found a new good luck charm.
Though it was only a friendly, Italy are coming off an undefeated Euro 2012 qualifying campaign where they scored 20 goals in 10 matches and allowed just two. To get a first victory over Italy and a rare win on European soil will surely be a confidence builder for the U.S. as it starts looking towards its friendly against Brazil on May 30 and the World Cup qualifiers beyond that.
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- Clint Dempsey
- Juergen Klinsmann
- Jozy Altidore