Although it was a friendly, Haiti displayed great resolve by scoring two late goals to earn a draw against Italy with a score of 2-2.
This was another disappointing result for Italy after Friday's draw against Czech Republic in World Cup qualifying. Although the squad remains on top of Group B in UEFA, the lack of offense was certainly concerning.
By giving up a late two-goal lead, the squad should be concerned heading into next week's Confederations Cup.
For Haiti, this was another chance to improve on the international stage after providing a close match against Spain. Haitian singer Wyclef Jean is one fan who was certainly hoping for a nice result in this one:
Although it was not a win, the underdog should be proud of the performance against one of the more talented squads in the world.
The match itself did not take very long to provide some action. Steve Amoia of World Football Commentaries gives a look at the opening moments:
Giaccherini of Italy scored within 30 seconds of the kick-off. 1-0 to the Azzurri.— Steve Amoia (@worldfootballcm) June 11, 2013
Antonio Candreva brought the ball out wide in the first minute and crossed it in front of the net. As the Haiti defense sat back and waited for the ball, Emanuele Giaccherini seemingly came out of nowhere to knock the ball into the net to give Italy a 1-0 lead.
After some reviewing, it became clear that the goal was a new Italian record for fastest score in a match, according to ESPN's Julian De Martinis:
Emanuele Giaccherini just set a record for the Italian national team. Never stop dreaming, kids!— Julian of Martinis (@JulianDM11) June 11, 2013
The score came at 19 seconds, breaking Salvatore Bagni's mark by a couple of seconds.
Unfortunately, the opportunities were few and far between for the next 44 minutes. The lack of production was concerning to some, including a popular Azzurri Twitter account:
Italy quiet since the goal— Azzurri (@ItalianNT) June 11, 2013
In the second half, the battle continued in the middle of the pitch, with neither side able to produce too many great chances in the final third.
Finally, Italy was able to provide some more offense when Mario Balotelli entered the match. He beat his defender near the touch line and centered it to Stephan El Shaarawy, who hit it right to the keeper.
Fortunately, Claudio Marchisio was in perfect position to get the rebound to score the second goal of the match for Italy.
Of course, things did not end there. Haiti was able to get one goal back on a penalty shot by Olrish Saurel in the 85th minute. A few minutes later, the squad earned the equalizer with a fantastic goal by Jean Philippe Peguero.
The match ended with a 2-2 draw, which left the favorite shocked as it walked off the field. The Twitter account SoccerPro also described how incredible this result was:
Want more shocks? Haiti just equalized against Italy. From 2 goals down to 2-2! It's only a friendly but still... #Shockers— SoccerPro (@SoccerPro) June 11, 2013
It is clear this is not the result that Italy wanted coming into the friendly.
Still, there is plenty of good to come with this match. While the match helped both sides work on their performances for the future, the event taking place in Brazil also was used to aid in the relief effort for Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. Christian Rizzitelli of Goal.com is a fan of the benefit:
These international charity matches are really a good idea. More of the same in the next years, please. #ItalyHaiti— Christian Rizzitelli (@ChristianRiz) June 11, 2013
This is the type of thing that can allow everyone involved in the match to be satisfied in some way.
Salvatore Sirigu, Italy: A
There is no question about who the starting goalkeeper is on the Italian national team. Gianluigi Buffon is one of the best in the world at his position and should remain that way for at least a little longer.
However, he will not be around forever, and Salvatore Sirigu continues to show that he can easily take over the spot when Buffon calls it quits. The 26-year-old keeper kept Haiti from having any opportunities in the first half until coming out of the match.
Emanuele Giaccherini, Italy: A-
Many fans question Emanuele Giaccherini's place on the national team, especially as he rarely makes the starting lineup for Juventus. However, he was the difference-maker in the early going in this match with an incredibly quick goal.
Giaccherini might not be the most skilled player on the roster, but he works hard and makes good things happen when he is on the pitch.
Jean Philippe Peguero, Haiti, A+
One of the reasons Haiti is no longer competing for a chance to play in the World Cup is because it lacked players to step up when needed. Jean Philippe Peguero took that role against Italy with a tying goal in extra time.
If the squad can keep this type of confidence that it has the ability to come back, it will serve them well in future matches.
|D||Mattia De Sciglio||B|
|M||Emanuele Giaccherini (Off 55') ||A-
|M||Alessandro Diamanti (Off 54') ||B|
|M||Alberto Aquilani (Off 72') ||B-|
|M||Alessio Cerci (Off 60') ||B|
|F||Alberto Gilardino (Off 55') ||C+
|G ||Federico Marchetti (On 46') ||B|
|F||Stephan El Shaarawy (On 60') ||B
|M||Daniele De Rossi (On 55') ||B+|
|M||Riccardo Montolivo (On 54') ||B-|
|F||Mario Balotelli (On 55') ||A|
|M||Claudio Marchisio (On 72') ||A-|
|D||Jean Sony Alcenat||C+
|D||Aveska Judelin (Off 82') ||B-|
|D||Kevin Lafrance (Off 57') ||C+|
|M||Yves Hadley Desmarets||B-|
|M||Herold Charles (Off 78') ||B|
|F||Mourice Geen (On 57') ||B|
|M||Pascal Millen (On 78') ||B+|
|D||Jean Rubin (On 82') ||B|
Haiti has no matches on the schedule after being eliminated early in the CONCACAF qualifying process. However, Italy should be prepared for some serious competition coming up at the Confederations Cup.
The squad gets things started on Sunday in a tough match against Mexico.
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