November 14, 2012
Italy 1-2 France
Substitute Bafetimbi Gomis struck a second-half winner as France came from behind to claim victory over Italy in tonight's international friendly in Parma.
In-form AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawi had given Italy a first-half lead but a brilliant effort from Mathieu Valbuena saw France draw level almost immediately and then Gomis put Les Bleus ahead four minutes after coming on as a 63rd-minute replacement.
Italy pushed hard for an equaliser in the closing stages but Sebastian Giovinco was denied by Hugo Lloris and Emanuele Giaccherini struck the crossbar as the Euro 2012 runners-up fell short.
The victory earned France their first triumph on Italian soil since 1994 and saw them claim another impressive result under new coach Didier Deschamps having last month held Spain to a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Madrid.
The first serious effort of the match arrived in the ninth minute and saw Italy striker Mario Balotelli come within a whisker of giving his side the lead.
El Shaarawi laid the ball back to the Manchester City striker 25 yards out and he struck a curling effort that looked set to find the top corner of the net only for the ball to crash back off the bar.
Both Balotelli and El Shaarawi were involved again when Italy did manage to take the lead in the 35th minute.
A long ball out of defence was neatly laid-off by Balotelli into the path of the onrushing Riccardo Montolivo and his through-ball was fired home by El Shaarawi from the edge of the box, his shot going through the legs of Lloris.
That was the 20-year-old's 10th goal in his past 14 games for club and country, but it gave Italy the lead for just two minutes before Valbuena wiped it out with a stunning leveller.
There appeared little immediate danger when Valbuena picked the ball up on the left touchline but the Marseille playmaker skipped past two attempted challenges from Marco Verratti, cut inside Andrea Barzagli and then curled in a brilliant shot into the far-top corner.
Both nations made a host of changes at half-time and at the start of the second half and it was one of those new arrivals who settled the game in France's favour with Gomis netting the winner.
Another French replacement Jeremy Menez did well to get to the byline before cutting the ball back to Patrice Evra, whose cross-shot across the face of goal was turned in by Gomis at the far post.
Italy went in search of an equaliser but Lloris saved an Alessandro Diamanti header, tipped Giovinco's shot around the post and then saw Giaccherini strike the crossbar from the edge of the box as France held on for the win.