Italy again failed to impress in a pre-World Cup friendly, following up their goalless game against Ireland with a 1-1 draw at home to tiny Luxembourg. Unsurprisingly, the Italians had the lion's share of possession throughout the contest in Perugia. They failed to build upon Claudio Marchisio's early opener, eventually falling victim to a late equaliser from Maxime Chanot.
It took less than ten minutes for Italy to break the goalsheet with what was pretty much their first chance of the match. Claudio Marchisio's long crossfield pass was controlled immaculately by Mario Balotelli in the box, before he delivered a brilliant dinked cross back to Marchisio to head in and break the deadlock.
With the goal coming so early, Luxembourgers could've been forgiven for fearing the worst. But despite the Azzurri domination throughout the first half, their advantage remained at just the single goal. It certainly wasn't for the want of trying, with Balotelli and Andrea Pirlo both calling the visitors' Belgian-born goalkeeper Anthony Moris into saves. Antonio Candreva was also incorrectly adjudged to have been offside when he threaded through on goal.
The second half picked up where the first had left off, with Balotelli drilling a powerful shot from distance just wide of Moris' post within minutes of the restart. For all of their chances, Italy's lead was still a slim one. What's more, the minnows Luxembourg appeared to be growing in confidence.
They had their reward with just five minutes remaining, with centre-back Maxime Chanot latching onto a corner and powering a header beyond Gianluigi Buffon. For Luxembourg, the draw is a highly impressive result. For Cesare Prandelli, it's it will represent a missed opportunity to boost confidence in the Azzurri camp ahead of their trip to Brazil. Italy's next match is now their World Cup opener against England in just 10 days time. They'll be hoping they fare rather better than they have in their preparatory friendlies.
Italy: Buffon; De Sciglio, Chiellini, Bonucci (Ranocchia 79'), Abate; Pirlo (Aquilani 72'), De Rossi, Verratti (Cassano 54'); Marchisio (Parolo 85'), Candreva (Insigne 78'); Balotelli (Cerci 78').
Goals: Marchisio (9').
Luxembourg: Moris; Jänisch, Chanot, Schell, Jans; Philipps (Payal 54'); Bensi (Da Graça Martins 79'), Holter, Gerson (da Mota 46'), Mutsch; Joachim (Turpel 89').
Goals: Chanot (85').