Federico Marchetti will replace the injured Gigi Buffon for the Azzurri against the All Whites of New Zealand on Sunday afternoon from Nelspruit. Buffon’s herniated disc and sciatic nerve problems may cause him to miss the rest of the World Cup. The double-edged sword to have one of the world’s best keepers is that his deputies rarely see playing time. Marchetti played against Switzerland in Geneva during a pre-World Cup friendly that ended, 1-1.
Two Years of Serie A Experience at Cagliari
Marchetti, 27, has been the first-choice keeper for the Serie A side of Cagliari, which is located on the beautiful remote island of Sardinia. According to the Cagliari team site, Marchetti had 35 appearances in 2008/2009 and 33 appearances during 2009/2010. Cagliari conceded 58 goals this past season and finished 16th in the 20 team Italian Serie A. For some perspective, Buffon’s Juventus conceded 56 goals in a seventh place finish in the table during 2009/2010.
First Cap Against Northern Ireland
Marchetti is a product of the Torino youth system. His first Azzurri cap (he has six) came in May 2009 against Northern Ireland. Buffon had praised the young keeper as his potential heir and Marchetti caught the eye of Marcello Lippi. I have seen him play a few times. He is very quick off the line and has a good physical presence in the penalty area. Both of those qualities should serve him well against a tall, physical side such as New Zealand. Both teams met last year in South Africa during a friendly before the Confederations Cup. Italy won, 4-3, but the All Whites gave them more than the Azzurri expected and were leading for most of the game.
Survived a Car Accident Five Years Ago
“Ho avuto un brutto incidente nel marzo di 5 anni fa. Fortunamente io e due compagni di squadra siamo usciti illesi da uno scontro in auto. Quando vedi la morte in faccia succede qualcosa che è difficile da spiegare. È un’esperienza brutta ma che porto con me. Per incidenti ho perso due amici. Credevo fossimo perseguitati dal destino, ma ora credo che dall’alto siano più felici di me per quello che succede. Mi sono tatuato l’Ave Maria“.
“I had a terrible accident five years ago in March. Fortunately, two teammates and I escaped unhurt from a car accident. When you see death up close, something in you changes that is difficult to explain. It is an awful experience that I still carry with me. Due to car accidents, I’ve lost two friends. I believed that they were called by destiny but now I believe that from above they are happier than I for what happened. I have a tattoo of the Ave Maria (A Roman Catholic prayer).”
Differences between him and Buffon
“Le mie caratteristiche simili a quelle di Buffon? No, lui è più veloce e reattivo, io più muscolare ed esplosivo, faccio della forza la mia caratteristica. Credo che coraggio e consapevolezza dei propri mezzi siano la base per avere successo“.
“Are my characteristics similar to Buffon? No, he is faster and has quicker reflexes. I am more muscular and explosive. Strength is my main characteristic. I believe that courage and knowledge of your own weak and strong points are the basis to have success.”
On His First World Cup Appearance against Paraguay
“The other night, against Paraguay, I knew that Gigi was having some difficulties. Therefore, I was in ready mode and mentally prepared. These days I’m living well. I am convinced to be able to play a good match.”
On New Zealand
“Sono fisici, forti nel gioco aereo. Se perdessimo cosa succederebbe? Non ci penso, io penso solo a vincere“.
“They are physical and strong in the air. If we lose what would happen? I’m not thinking about that. I’m only thinking about winning.”
Italian Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, June 17, 2010.
Steve Amoia is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Italian soccer school), Football Media, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens.