With a large enthusiastic crowd on hand in Pero, Italy, Team Italy defeated Switzerland 30-19 in the very first game ever played between these two teams. Billed as a friendly, the game was far from that offering intense action and crushing hits from both teams.
The game started slowly for both teams but then Italy’s quarterback Tommaso Monardi found Marco Podavitte for the game’s first touchdown. Then, the Italian defense, which had been playing well, were caught off guard by speedy Swiss receiver Adrian Suenderhauf, who broke tackles and went in from 50 yards out to score Switzerland’s first major, evening the score at 7-7.
Italy responded as Monardi hit Giorgio Bruni for another touchdown giving Italy a 14-7 lead after one quarter.
Italian kicker Stefano Di Tunisi kicked a field goal early in the second quarter giving Italy a 10-7 lead. But with not much time left in the half, Swiss quarterback Dea Baumann hit Andres Trautmann for a 25 yard score, closing the gap at the half to 17-13 Italy.
Italy seemed more focused entering the second half and on Switzerland’s first drive Italian defensive back Frederico Forlai picked off an errant Baumann pass. Then Italian running back Mattia Binda made the Swiss pay scoring on a 50 yard run, extending Italy’s lead to 24-13. Switzerland had trouble moving the ball and the third quarter ended 24-13.
Early in the fourth, Monardi again found the end zone throwing to fellow Parma Panther teammate Tommaso Finadri for the fourth Italian touchdown and now Team Italy held a commanding 30-13 lead. That lasted until a disastrous snap went over the head of Italian punter Di Tunisi‘s head and Switzerland recovered deep in the Italian zone. Swiss running back Elia Richina found the end zone making the score 30-19 which is where the game ended as neither team could mount any offense late.
Swiss Head Coach Chris Winter was not unhappy with the outcome:
“This was much better than our game against Serbia and very good considering it was only our sixth day together as a team. But we still have lots to do.”
With Italy preparing for the Group B championship tournament in 2016, this game was a good tuneup for Team Blue.
Italian General Manager Manfredi Leone, was generally positive:
“Our defense played very well. The team seemed to struggle with the new offense as they are in the process of breaking it in. But all in all Team Blue performed well in Davide Giuliano’s first game as head coach.”
Replay of Italy v. Switzerland
Information: American Football News, Italian Federation.
Photos: Stefano Schwetz