BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, January 9, 2012
After months of rumors, it was formally announced today that the US national team will face four-time World Cup champion Italy on February 29 in Genoa.
The United States has never defeated Italy and holds a record of 0-7-3 against the Italians.
The most memorable meeting came at the 2006 World Cup in Germany when a nine man United States hung on in the second half for a 1-1 draw in Kaiserslautern. It was the only game Italy failed to win at the entire tournament on their way to their fourth title.
The most recent meeting between the two teams was at the 2009 Confederations Cup. In that game, the United States took a 1-0 lead in the first half but were reduced to 10 men following a controversial red card to Ricardo Clark. The Italians eventually prevailed 3-1.
For Italy, the game will serve as a key preparation for the 2012 European Championship where they are drawn into a group consisting of Spain, Ireland, and Croatia.
The United States will be using the game as one of their final tune-ups for World Cup qualification which begins on June 8 at home against Antigua and Barbuda.