adidas phantom Dempsey scores with chip
THINKING OF DAVIES: When Maurice Edu scored in last week’s 4 2 loss to the Czech Republic, he did a “Stanky Leg” dance in honor of American teammate Charlie Davies, who is missing the World Cup while recovering from injuries sustained in an October car crash that nearly killed him.
Clint Dempsey also attempted the dance when he scored in Saturday’s 2 1 win over Turkey.
“You’re heart goes out for him,” Dempsey said. “I just want to show that, you know, we still got love for him, we still think about him often and that, you know, he’ll be back soon.”
Dempsey admitted his “Stanky Leg” wasn’t noticed by many.
“I can’t dance,” he said. “But, nah, we love Charlie. We wish he could have been here, but, I mean that’s the way life goes sometimes. But, you know, we hope that he gets back soon to full fitness and playing in games.”
GOOCH WATCH: Look for Oguchi Onyewu to see extended time in Saturday’s exhibition against Australia.
Onyewu started against the Czech Republic last week, the central defender’s first game action since tearing his left patellar tendon in the last World Cup qualifier on Oct. 14. He played the second half of Saturday’s game against Turkey. coach Bob Bradley said Thursday. “We were cautious then as far as the way we brought him back for the Turkey match but I thought he had a good second half. So we will certainly use him more against Australia and try to again assess exactly where that fits in as we make the decisions for a starting 11 vs. backup goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann on why so many Americans are in the Premier League.
“The first choice for anybody to go overseas I think is England,” he said. “They talk a little bit funny, but otherwise, you know, it’s the same language.”
Mexico beats Italy 2 1 in World Cup warmup
BRUSSELS Carlos Vela and Alberto Medina exposed a slow, ragged Italy defense to give Mexico a 2 1 victory over the World Cup holder on Thursday in a major boost ahead of next week’s opening match of the tournament.
Vela took a high pass from Giovani Dos Santos in the center and without any serious challenge was able to line up a drive from 12 meters out that gave goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon no chance in the 16th minute.
Ten minutes from time substitute Medina beat Italy’s offside trap, and from a tight right angle beat Buffon with a drive.
Italy pulled one back in the 89th when defender Leonardo Bonucci scored from close range after Salvatore Bocchetti hit the post.
In Italy’s first warmup game for the World Cup, the Azzurri looked sluggish for long periods and were mostly running after the ball instead of dictating play before 30,000 mostly Italian fans at King Baudouin Stadium.
The Azzurri have been training at high altitude in the Italian Alps, and coach Marcello Lippi attributed the disappointing performance to a lack of fitness.
“We’ve been up in the mountains for 10 days. We arrived here this morning and we were up against a team in much better form than us you can’t analyze this game based on anything else,” Lippi said. “The players told me their legs felt very heavy.”
The Azzurri’s best chance came in the third minute when Vincenzo Iaquinta forced a great one handed save from Mexico goalkeeper Oscar Perez off the crossbar.
After losses to England and the Netherlands over the past two weeks, Mexico had its most promising outing ahead of next Friday’s opener against South Africa at Soccer City.
Lippi had attached a lot of importance to the game since Italy opens its Group F campaign on June 14 against Paraguay, which is expected to play much like Mexico.
It bode ill. Fabio Cannavaro, 36 already, and the inexperienced Bonucci were often hesitant at the heart of the defense against the agile Vela and Javier Hernandez. And up front, Italy’s lone striker Alberto Gilardino only rarely forced the composed Mexicans into action.
While it is the defending champion, Italy is widely considered too old and without any top new players to be a credible title contender. Mexico, meanwhile, is vying to advance from Group A where it faces France, Uruguay and host South Africa.
Having played against three top European nations, Mexico finally showed some poise, with youthful promise up front and staunch defense led by Barcelona stalwart Rafael Marquez.
“It is never easy against a team like Italy. This gives us comfort,” said Mexico coach Javier Aguirre. “The result is less important than what we showed. Now people are serene and confident. The ball is running well for us.”