Nazionali in cifre

The Azzurri against Venezuela and Ecuador: previous matches with March opponents

Primo confronto della storia con la "Vinotinto", ottava avversaria della Conmebol. Terza gara con la Tricolor, l'ultima volta proprio a New York.

Friday, February 9, 2024

The Azzurri against Venezuela and Ecuador: previous matches with March opponents

The National Team's journey towards the UEFA EURO Germany 2024 begins in March with two friendly matches scheduled in the United States: Thursday, 21 March Italy v Venezuela at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Rai 1 at 22:00 CET, local time 17:00 EST), Sunday, 24 March Italy v Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in the New York area, in Harrison, New Jersey (Rai 1 at 21:00 CET, local time 16:00 EST).

ITALY v VENEZUELA. First-ever encounter between Italy and Venezuela, who have never faced each other before, also because, since their debut in 1938, the "Vinotinto" (red wine, a name used to describe the National Team of the FVF Federación Venezolana de Fútbol, from the color of their shirts) has never participated in a World Cup Final Phase. However, this drought could soon come to an end: the Venezuelan National Team is currently in 4th place (9 points in 6 matches) in the South American qualifying group for the 2026 World Cup, where the top 6 teams will qualify, as opposed to the top 4 until 2022, due to the expansion to 48 teams. They have secured two victories against Paraguay and Chile, and three draws, 1-1 against Brazil, then with Ecuador and Peru, with an initial defeat against Colombia. Ranked 50th in the FIFA Rankings, the Vinotinto's best result was 4th place in the 2011 Copa America (in Argentina); Tomas Rincon (130) and Salomon Rondon (41) hold the records for appearances and goals, both achieved since 2008 to date.

The match will take place at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, a stadium with a capacity of 21,000, home to Inter Miami (MLS) matches while awaiting the completion of Miami Freedom Park in Miami, and Fort Lauderdale CF (US League One).

ITALY v ECUADOR. The Azzurri's second opponent is Ecuador: the third match between the two after those in 2002 in Sapporo (World Cup in Japan and Korea, 2-0) and in 2005 in New York (friendly, 1-1). The "Tricolor," ranked 32nd in the FIFA Rankings, has participated in 4 World Cups (2002, 2006, 2014, 2022), with their best result being the Round of 16 in 2006 (0-1 against England); they have also participated in 29 Copa America tournaments (debut in 1939), achieving two 4th places (1959 and 1993, editions held at home). The record for appearances belongs to Ivan Hurtado (168 between 1992 and 2014), while the record for goals belongs to Enner Valencia (40 in 83 appearances from 2012 to the present). In the World Cup 2026 qualifying group, after the loss in Argentina, Ecuador have had a positive streak of 5 matches (3 wins and 2 draws), but they only have 8 points in the standings due to FIFA's deduction of points (-3) for the case of the player Byron Castillo, whose date and place of birth were falsified.

The match will be played at the Red Bull Arena in the New York area, in Harrison, New Jersey, which hosts the matches for the NY Red Bulls (MLS), a club owned by the Austrian company since 2006. Inaugurated in 2010, the stadium has a capacity of approximately 25,000 spectators.