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Clint Dempsey Strike Gives USA First Ever Win over Italy

Teammates mob U.S. striker Clint Dempsey, who made history by defeating Italy for the first time in U.S. history.
Teammates mob U.S. striker Clint Dempsey, who made history by defeating Italy for the first time in U.S. history.Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Dan IrwinCorrespondent IIFebruary 29, 2012

Italy, the stingiest team in terms of goals allowed in Euro 2012 qualifying, gave up a half-hearted but well placed shot by Clint Dempsey of the United States in the 55th minute Wednesday to secure a 1-0 win.

The win for the U.S. was their first in 11 attempts, improving to 1-7-3 (W-L-T) all time against the Italians.

The win came despite poor defensive play from the U.S. team, who consistently allowed balls to get played in front of the box from near the midfield zone.

It was a story of two halves for forward Jozy Altidore, who got pushed around and muscled off the ball multiple times in the first half.

However in the second half, Jozy toughened up and became a much bigger factor with his physical presence.

Italy looked to be the better offensive team throughout, but were frustrated time and time again by the offsides flag.

The new 5'3" Italian sensation Sebastian Giovinco was called offsides for most of Italy's eight offsides calls.

American goalkeeper Tim Howard had seven saves on the night, but Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon had the save of the match, hitting a Dempsey free kick with a double fist.

That would however, be Buffon's only touch on two shots on-goal for the U.S.

The best save from the Americans may have come in the 78th minute from Jonathan Spector.  Just inserted into the game, Spector deflected what would have likely been an equalizing goal.

Daniele De Rossi, who scored for Italy against the United States in the Confederation Cup in 2009, was brought in late to try and generate some offense, but to no avail.

The U.S. team next plays on May 26 in Jacksonville against Scotland, before playing against Brazil in Washington D.C. on May 30.

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