U.S. to Face Four-Time World Cup Champion Italy on Feb. 29 in Genoa
ESPN2 Will Broadcast Live from Stadio Luigi Ferraris at 2:45 p.m. ET
CHICAGO (Jan. 9, 2012) â€” The U.S. Menâ€™s National Team will face four-time World Cup Champion Italy on Feb. 29 in Genoa. Kickoff at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris is set for 8:30 p.m. local (2:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Galavision. Fans can follow the game live on ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer.
The match falls on the final FIFA international fixture date before the team gathers in May to prepare for the start of World Cup qualifying, and U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will be able to select a full complement of players.
â€œObviously we are very excited to be playing a team of such high quality,â€ said Klinsmann. â€œWe are slowly trying to raise the bar for our team, and this is an awesome opportunity for the players to be challenged against one of the top teams in the world.â€
The match in Genoa will be the third meeting on Italian soil between the teams and the first since 2002, when Italy snatched a 1-0 victory in Catania in a tune-up for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The United States has never beaten the four-time World Cup champion, holding a 0-7-3 lifetime record.
The teams have played four times in major international tournaments, including the thrilling 1-1 draw in the second match of group play in the 2006 FIFA World Cup on June 17, 2006, in Kaiserslautern. One of the finest performances in team history, that match is as memorable for the massive support of U.S. fans as for holding off the Italians after being reduced to nine men. The most recent encounter came in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, when the Italians captured a 3-0 victory in group play against a U.S. team reduced to 10 men.
The ninth-ranked Italians have a storied history that includes four World Cup titles, the most recent from the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. They are preparing for the 2012 European Championship, having been drawn into a monster group that includes defending World Cup champion Spain, as well as Ireland and Croatia.
Going to Genoa will also be a homecoming of sorts for Klinsmann, who played in the Serie A from 1997-98 for Sampdoria.
The U.S. Menâ€™s National Team is currently in Phoenix, Ariz., in training camp preparing for a pair of January friendlies. The U.S. will host Venezuela on Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. MT at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (TICKETS). The match will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and Galavision. Four days later, the U.S. faces Panama at 8:30 p.m. ET at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City, live on Galavision. Fans can follow both games live on ussoccer.comâ€™s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer.