Czech Republic vs. Italy: As It Happened
World Cup Qualifier—Generali Stadium, Prague, Czech Republic
Czech Republic 0 - 0 Italy (Full Time)
Czech Republic: Cech, Limbersky (Suchy 20'), M. Kadlec, Selassie, Sivok, Plasil, Jiracek (Kolar 86'), Hubschmann, Rosicky, Darida (V. Kadlec 76'), Kozak
Italy: Buffon, Abate, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini, Pirlo (Aquilani 77'), De Rossi, Marchisio, Montolivo , Balotelli (RED 72'), El Shaarawy (Giovinco 46')
Thanks very much for following along in this one with me. I hope you had as much fun as I did. There will be much coverage on this matchup here on B/R moving forward. Look for coverage of Italy in the Confederations Cup starting with their opening match against Mexico next Sunday. This is Sam Lopresti for Bleacher Report, signing off.
This match has posed a lot of questions for Cesare Prandelli to answer. It could certainly have been worse for the Italians, but it could also have been worlds better.
Italy didn't have a single shot on goal in this game, and only five off-target. The attack needs to be so much better.
ESPN has named Gianluigi Buffon the man of the match, and I have to agree. He saved all the long-range shots the defense was forcing the Czechs into, and on the few occasions that Kozak or Jiracek were able to break free he made some excellent saves.
I have to say that the second booking on Balotelli was a little soft. Not saying it wasn't his fault, the first he definitely deserved, and he just had to be more careful.
If this is a precursor to what we might see in the Confederations Cup, I may have been premature in predicting the Italians would make the finals. It was possible that the Azzurri had been playing this game with the Brail tournament in the back of their minds, but they'll need more against some of the best teams in the world next week.
A point a side. This was not what the Czechs needed. They have a hard road ahead of them if they're to qualify.
The Italians are now four points clear of Bulgaria in the top of the group table, but they could've been sitting very pretty.
90'+3 - Kolar hemmed into the corner by Chiellini.
90'+2 - MISS
Kolar takes a ball from the top of the box with no one in front of him and fails to test Buffon. Czechs had a penalty appeal waved away right before when Selassie went down.
90'+1 = YELLOW CARD
Riccardo Montolivo goes in the book.
90'+1 - No sign of how much time is being added on.
90' - Giovinco is fouled, but Italy isn't even heaving it down field.
90' - Italy is playing keep-away now. Prandelli wants that point.
89' - Two minutes left. Italy's defense is coping superbly with being a man down.
86' - CZECH REPUBLIC SUB
Jiricek can't take any more part. Back to 11 v 10.
86' - Plasil tries to find Selassie but is unable to get there.
84' - At the moment the numbers are even. Can Italy capitalize on that?
84' - POST
Jiricek gets in as one of two runners behind the Italian defense but hits the outside of the post. Looks like he may have hurt his leg on the stretch. He's lying on the ground just outside the endline in agony.
84' - Barzagli tugs Vaclav Kadlec's shirt. Dangerous free kick.
83' - This is the first time Balotelli has been sent off wearing a national team shirt.
82' - A foul on Selassie. Italy will need to creep forward with fouls like that in order to score.
81' - Vaclav Kadlec's cross flies over everyone.
80' - The Czechs have the opening they need now. They need to score or their World Cup dreams are likely over.
79' - Catching practice for Cech on the corner.
79' - Marchisio is able to wring out a corner. Giovinco to take.
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