Nazionale A

Double Azzurri friendly test to be held in the USA in March

The first two matches of 2024 for the National Team with an eye on the European Championship. Italy will return to the United States after almost 19 years and 30 years since the 1994 World Cup.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Double Azzurri friendly test to be held in the USA in March

Thirty years after the World Cup final loss to Brazil on penalties and almost 19 years since the June 2005 match against Ecuador, Italy will return to the United States in March for friendly matches with Venezuela and Ecuador. Two significant tests in preparation for EURO 2024, facing two teams in contention for the upcoming World Cup.

On Thursday 21 March (22:00 CET, 17:00 PM local time – live on Rai 1) at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, home of Inter Miami, the Azzurri will face Venezuela, while on Sunday, 24 March (21:00 CET, 16:00 local time – live on Rai 1) they will take on Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in the New York area, in Harrison, New Jersey.

PREVIOUS MATCHES IN THE STATES: The National Team's first time in the United States dates back to 1976 when they were invited to the Bicentennial Cup organized by the US federation for the 200th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence. Italy, led by Fulvio Bernardini and Enzo Bearzot, started with a clear victory against the hosts (4-0) but then lost the next two games to England (from 2-0 to 2-3) and Brazil (1-4). The last encounter in the USA was in June 2005. On June 8, Marcello Lippi's Italy drew 1-1 with Serbia and Montenegro (goals by Zigic and Cristiano Lucarelli), the same result as the second friendly played on 11 June in East Rutherford, in the New York area (goals by Luca Toni and Ayovi). In these two games, Lippi tested several players who would later be called up for the 2006 World Cup (Barone, Barzagli, Grosso, Oddo, Iaquinta, Peruzzi, Toni, and Zaccardo), laying the foundation for the triumph in Berlin. In between is, of course, the 1994 World Cup, where after a shaky start, Arrigo Sacchi's Italy, led by Roberto Baggio (with 5 goals as the top scorer of the National Team in the States), overcame Nigeria, Spain, and Bulgaria before succumbing only in a penalty shootout in the final against Brazil. Overall, the National Team, playing in 7 stadiums and in 7 different states, have played 16 matches in the USA, with a record of 7 wins, 6 draws, and 3 defeats (20 goals scored, 14 conceded).

TICKET INFO. Tickets for the two games will be on sale at Italian fans will be able to purchase in advance for the sector dedicated to them on Wednesday 7 February (from 10:00 Eastern time, 16:00 CET) by writing the code AZZURRI (written in capital letters). Meanwhile, on Thursday 8 February (from 10:00 Eastern time, 16:00 CET) general sale for all sectors of the stadium will start.

THE OPPONENTS: It will be the first-ever meeting between Italy and Venezuela. The 'Vinotinto' has never qualified for the World Cup finals, but this long drought could end as they currently hold the 4th position (9 points in 6 games) in the South American qualification group for the 2026 World Cup, where the top 6 teams will qualify due to the expansion of the World Cup to 48 teams. The Italian national team have played 2 matches with Ecuador: Italy's victory (2-0, Vieri's brace) in the final stage of the 2002 Japan and Korea World Cup and a draw (1-1, Toni's goal) in the 2005 friendly in New York. The 'Tricolor' have participated in 4 World Cups (2002, 2006, 2014, and 2022), with the best result being reaching the Round of 16 in 2006. In the qualification group for the 2026 World Cup, after a defeat away to Argentina, Ecuador has strung together a series of 5 consecutive positive results (3 wins and 2 draws), but due to a deduction, they only have 8 points in the table.

Note to editors: Click here to request press accreditation for the two National Team matches. Accreditation requests must be made by Friday 15 March.