With Cesare Prandelli’s Italy preparing to line up against Argentina in tomorrow evening’s friendly at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, Juventus.com takes a look back at three previous encounters contested in the capital, all of which involved significant contributions from Bianconeri players.
The first friendly contest between the sides in Rome was played out in front of 80,000 supporters on 5 December 1954. After failing to progress from the group stages during an unsuccessful World Cup campaign in Switzerland, Italy were a team in transition and, with Giampiero Boniperti as one of the few survivors, heralded the dawn of a new era by running out 2-0 winners. Also in the starting line-up on that day were goalkeeper Giovanni Viola and defender Rino Ferrario, both receiving their second caps in the new-look national side.
On 26 May 1979, seven Bianconeri were involved in an entertaining 2-2 draw with reigning world champions Argentina, who included star name Maradona in their ranks. They travelled to Rome determined to avenge their only defeat in the 1978 World Cup, suffered at the hands of a Roberto Bettega inspired Italy. The striker was again named in Enzo Bearzot’s starting XI, joining fellow Juventus players Dino Zoff, Claudio Gentile, Antonio Cabrini, Gaetano Scirea, Franco Causio and Marco Tardelli.
Jose Daniel Valencia shot the visitors into the lead inside the opening seven minutes, only for Franco Causio to conjure up a magnificent volley to restore parity midway through the first half. Italy edged their noses in front ten minutes after the interval, with future Bianconeri frontman Paolo Rossi supplying the killer finish. Argentina would, however, go on to secure an eventual share of the spoils through Daniel Passarella’s spot kick a minute later.
More recently, the 2-1 defeat on 28 February 2001 saw Filippo Inzaghi, Alessio Tacchinardi and Gigi Buffon figure for Giovanni Trapattoni’s side.