United States of America draw 1-1 with Italy in Group E

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Kasey Keller made three crucial saves as nine-man USA drew 1-1 with ten-man Italy in an heart-pounding Group E match.

The match was played in Kaiserslautern and there were many American fans present. Those who had seen the Czech Republic crush the USA 3-0 might have been surprised at the way the underdogs played against the Azzuri.

Bruce Arena's side began with a 4-5-1 formation and started the game with great energy, attacking from the first whistle.

Fritz-Walter Stadion, Kaiserslautern.

However; arguably against the play Italy scored first. A set piece 45 yards out was driven low and Alberto Gilardino got in front of his defender and glanced a header to the far post.

USA got an equaliser on 26 minutes. Christian Zaccardo tried to clear a corner one way but skewed the ball the other. Own goal, Gianluigi Buffon did not move.

Then there was a crucial turning point in the character of the game. Daniele De Rossi rose for a midfield challenge and hit Brian McBride under the left eye with what looked like an elbow.

Blood streamed from McBride's face. Uruguay referee Jorge Larrionda gave De Rossi a straight red.

Larrionda went on to show two more red cards in the match which equalled a tournament record. There had only been three other Fifa World Cup games with three red cards: 1938 Brazil v Czechoslovakia; 1954, Brazil v Hungary; and 1998, Denmark v South Africa.

For a few minutes McBride remained shirtless on the touchline while he received boxer treatment and three stiches for his cut. Italian manager Marcello Lippi replaced Francesco Totti with midfield tackler Gennaro Gattuso.

With half an hour gone the own goal and De Rossi's mistake had given the USA a massive advantage. But it appears they did not keep their heads.

Ten minutes after Pablo Mastroeni had grazed the crossbar with a shot he made a horrible lunge at the ankles of Andrea Pirlo. Jorge Larrionda flashed the red again.

Just before half-time the USA had neutralised their advantage. In less than one minute after the restart they were to hand the Italians the advantage.

Eddie Pope was sent off after he received his second caution: two yellow cards equal one red card and now it was ten men versus nine.

Lippi almost immediately got substitute Alexandro Del Piero on for one of his defenders to take advantage of their extra player. Arena brought on another defender and lined up 3-3-2. By 80 minutes this had become 8-0-0.

For a game with so few players and so much drama there were very few chances. Only three shots were on target; all for Italy. USA had 8 shots; none on target.

A statistic that suggests the draw was a tactical victory for the USA coach. Italy's forward line was guilty of getting caught offside 11 times.

Pirlo went close with a freekick and almost forced Carlos Bocanegra to head another dangerous dipping cross into his net; fortunately for Keller it clipped the bar.

USA goalkeeper Kasey Keller. His three saves against Italy earned him the Fifa Man of the Match award.

As the Americans were stretched further Kasey Keller made a couple of crucial saves from Lippi's extra attacker. On 73 minutes he got one hand to a Del Piero header and then palmed away two-handed his long range drive.

In the last 10 minutes Italy passed well and created a few chances to score. Vincenzo Iaquinta broke the offside trap, but failed to control the ball with only Keller to beat.

On 90 minutes Gilardino headed wide under pressure from Steve Cherundolo.

USA, despite playing the entire second half with 9 men might say they were unlucky not to get a second goal. A DaMarcus Beasley shot beat Buffon but was over-ruled because McBride was standing offside in the keeper's line of sight.

On USA attacks Landon Donovan kept the ball well which allowed respite from Italian attacks and spurred his team on to play further up the pitch, until their stamina cracked with ten-minutes left.

The referee arguably was fair if not consistent. In the second half as both sets of players tired decisions appeared more based on necessity to be more lenient.

Lunges were not whistled and there was an aggressive shirt pull in the USA penalty area that was ignored. In an earlier World Cup match, a Ukraine player had conceded a penalty and was sent off for doing this.

The shared point meant either one of Italy or Czech Republic would qualify from Group E for the knock-out stage of the Fifa World Cup. USA next play Ghana: a win for Ghana would mean qualification while the USA would qualify if they won and Italy beat the Czech Republic.


Group E

June 17, 2006
  USA 1–1   Italy Fritz-Walter Stadion
Zaccardo 27'(og) Gilardino 22'

Attendance: 46'000

Referee: Jorge Larrionda (Uruguay)    


  • 18 K Keller
  • 06 S Cherundolo
  • 22 O Onyewu
  • 23 E Pope 21'   47'  
  • 03 C Bocanegra
  • 08 C Dempsey (Substituted: 62' D Beasley )
  • 04 P Mastroeni 44'  
  • 10 C Reyna
  • 15 B Convey (Substituted: 52' J Conrad )
  • 20 B McBride
  • 21 L Donovan


  • 01 G Buffon
  • 02 C Zaccardo (Substituted: 54' A Del Piero )
  • 13 A Nesta
  • 05 F Cannavaro
  • 19 G Zambrotta 70'  
  • 20 S Perrotta
  • 21 A Pirlo
  • 04 D De Rossi 28'  
  • 10 F Totti 5'   (Substituted: 35' G Gattuso )
  • 9 L Toni (Substituted: 61' V Iaquinta )
  • 11 A Gilardino


Team Pts Pld W D L GF GA GD
Italy 4 2 1 1 0 3 1 +2
Czech Republic 3 2 1 0 1 3 2 +1
Ghana 3 2 1 0 1 2 2 0
USA 1 2 0 1 1 1 4 -3

Fifa World Cup Group E table June 17, 2006

Ghana surge past Czech Republic in Group E


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