Italy v Albania preview

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 2:13

Italy v Albania preview

The pair both play their home games at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, but for rival clubs – De Silvestri for Sampdoria while Antonelli is captain of Genoa.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) decided to play the friendly at the venue after the city was struck by flooding, sending residents out into the streets with shovels to clear the sludge.
Joining ‘gli angeli del fango’ – the angels of the mud – was Antonelli’s club-mate and near-namesake Luca Antonini, summing up the togetherness in the face of adversity.
Antonelli told figc.it: “The angels of the mud were fantastic, exceptional, not only my team-mate Antonini.
“But there are many ways to help Genoa, and we will do so on Tuesday with a game.”
De Silvestri added: “The situation is still difficult. Yesterday I was blocked in the house, in two days the angels of the mud went the extra mile to clean up the streets and the Genoese are a people to be admired for their willpower.
“Tomorrow we hope to be at the stadium, we would like to lead a normal evening and celebration.
“If I have the opportunity to take the field, I will give my all. We all really want to show ourselves, the fact that many Genoa and Sampdoria players are in the national team is a source of pride for the two clubs and we hope it is for the city.”
The two teams between them contribute eight players to a much-changed Azzurri squad – Antonelli, Mattia Perin, Alessandro Matri, Andrea Bertolacci and Stefano Sturaro from Genoa, and Samp trio De Silvestri, Manolo Gabbiadini and Stefano Okaka.
Despite the changes from the controversial 1-1 draw with Croatia, Albanian FA president Armand Duka is under no illusions about the scale of the test for his side.
“Italy are a great team, hopefully they will not play many players who played (against Croatia), then we will have more opportunities,” he smiled.
“Joking apart, all the players called by (coach Antonio) Conte are very good players and this match will be very difficult for us.
“This is not just a football match. We play for charity in light of things that have happened in Genoa. Despite this, the players must be prepared to play a good match to satisfy all the spectators and those watching on TV.”

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