Roma fans can breathe -- international break over

Posted by Julian De Martinis

AP Photo/Salvatore LaportaAlessandro Florenzi scored for Italy against Armenia Tuesday. More than that, the Roma man remained healthy.

The international break, which could not have come at a worse time, is finally over -- with Roma is on a roll in Serie A, and the fact the team traditionally struggles after breaks, it seemed a perfect chance for form to halt and injuries to occur.

Luckily, the players made it through their matches without any scrapes and Rudi Garcia has already steered the side through one international break successfully. Can he do it again on Friday against Napoli, a much tougher opponent?

Alessandro Florenzi and Federico Balzaretti swapped experiences for Italy. The latter featured in Italy's 2-2 draw away to Denmark and was on the pitch for a full 90 minutes without faring so well: the two goals conceded were arguably entirely his fault. Florenzi didn’t feature at all in that match Friday, but started and scored against Armenia in Napoli in another 2-2 draw that Balzaretti sat out.

-De Laurentiis: Napoli does not fear Roma

Vasilis Torosidis and Kevin Strootman had similar ventures; both played large roles in Greece’s and Holland’s first matches this past week, but neither made it off the bench in the second. Strootman especially starred as he tends to for his national side, notching a goal and an assist against Hungary.

Bogdan Lobont started in net for Romania against Andorra Friday, helping his side to a 4-0 victory. Miralem Pjanic, meanwhile, played 62 minutes against Lichtenstein for Bosnia and the full 90 against Lithuania, which was a crunch match -- Bosnia’s 1-0 victory punched their ticket to Brazil next summer.

The best of all may have been Gervinho, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen his early season Roma form. He scored a goal, won a penalty and assisted a goal in the Ivory Coast’s 3-1 win over Senegal. The least active of all: Daniele De Rossi, who didn’t feature for Italy as Cesare Prandelli largely used the final two matches to tinker and experiment a bit.

From a Roma point of view, the players have all returned fit and ready for Friday’s clash. Before Holland’s second match, it appeared that Strootman was struggling with an injury, but he was rested by Louis Van Gaal and is ready to play Friday. With Balzaretti disqualified, the bigger question revolves around Florenzi, who played a large part in Italy’s game on Tuesday and may find himself a substitute come Friday, giving Adem Ljajic a chance to start.


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