January 9, 2012
LEAP DAY MATCH
U.S. vs. Italy in Genoa on Feb. 29
CHICAGO--- The United States will meet four-time World Cup champion Italy in an international friendly in Genoa, Italy on Feb. 29.
|U.S. national coach Juergen Klisnsmann will coach against Italy in Genoa.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
It will be the U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann's only time to get the full National Team together before the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying begins in June.
Kickoff at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris is set for 8:45 p.m. local (2:45 p.m. ET). The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
"Obviously we are very excited to be playing a team of such high quality," Klinsmann said in a statement. "We are slowly trying to raise the bar for our team, and this is an awesome opportunity for the players to be challenged against one of the top teams in the world."
The match will be the third meeting on Italian soil between the teams and the first since 2002, when Italy recorded a 1-0 victory in Catania in a tune-up for the 2002 World Cup. The United States never has beaten the Italians, who hold a 0-7-3 record.
The teams have played four times in major international tournaments, including a 1-1 draw in the second match of group play in the World Cup on June 17, 2006, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Considered one of the finest performances in team history, that match is as memorable for the massive support of U.S. fans as for holding off the Italians after being reduced to nine men. The most recent encounter came in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, when the Italians registered a 3-0 victory in group play against an American team reduced to 10 men.
Having his team play to Genoa also will be a homecoming of sorts for Klinsmann, who played in the Serie A from 1997-98 for Sampdoria.