Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pazzini's Debut Double Revitalizes Inter In 3-2 Comeback Win

It has been a fantastic January transfer window for the Serie A. While AC Milan signed the two Dutchmen (Mark van Bommel and Emanuelson), Inter Milan went out and did some business of their own. Leonardo got three big presents from the president Massimo Moratti: Andrea Ranocchia, Houssine Kharja, and Giampaolo Pazzini. All three were important in Inter Milan's 3-2 comeback win over Palermo, especially Pazzini who scored a double on his debut.

I admit, I was skeptical about Pazzini and Kharja. I thought that maybe they didn't have the ability to step into a treble-winning team and manage to perform. I was completely wrong though, with Pazzini scoring in just 11 minutes after substituting Davide Santon at halftime. But Inter Milan had allowed a brilliant Palermo side to dominate the first half, with Julio Cesar (returning from injury) picking the ball out of the back of his net twice in the first half. It would've been three, but only the post stopped Pastore's powerful shot, which the Argentine thundered from close range.

Two goals down, Leonardo decided to bring on Pazzini and Kharja, playing in a scintillating manner with three forwards. The first goal was created by the two substitutes, Kharja played a piercing ball for Pazzini with his back to goal, and Pazzini swiveled around quickly and slotted the ball in the far bottom corner. Pazzini then equalized with a trademark goal of his: anticipating everyone during a free kick, and heading a beautiful cross by Maicon into the back of Sirigu's net.

Pazzini heading in the equalizer

In the middle of Pazzini's two goals, Palermo had a golden chance to score a third goal at the San Siro. Javier Pastore stepped up to take a penalty which Kasami earned after being brought down by Thiago Motta. While the penalty was excellently struck towards the bottom right corner, Julio Cesar pulled off an excellent save, keeping his team in the match.

Pazzini fought for the winning goal, and was pulled back in the penalty box, earning Inter a penalty. Samuel Eto'o stepped up to take the penalty, and while Sirigu came close to the Cameroon's shot, he was unable to stop it from entering his goal. It was the final goal of a fantastic comeback, inspired and created by Giampaolo Pazzini.

It was a fantastic debut for Pazzini, proving me completely wrong about the player's immense talent. He will prove to be useful for Leonardo, who is having trouble inspring Diego Milito. While Inter have a  fairly simple fixture away against last placed Bari next week, the following weeks will be a test for this motivated side. After travelling to Bari, Inter will host Roma before having to travel to Juventus. If Leonardo can win all three matches, his race towards the scudetto will be a lot easier.

What do you think about Pazzini? Will he be able to continue performing so excellently? Can Inter come back and win the scudetto? Share your comments below!

Vive Le Football Libre: Nike Unveil New France Kit

Back in 2007, French football was riding on the crest of a successful wave. Second placed in the 2006 World Cup, France were regarded as one of the strongest in the world, and so Nike won the contract to supply the French international football team from 2011 to 2018.

But French football took a strange turn after that final. A poor showing at the 2008 European Championships, followed by a ridiculous display at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the reputation of French football eroded down to nothing.

Now Nike have a whole new task on their hands. With the French football team, Nike is stirring up slogans and advertisements which are reminiscent of the French revolution. The campaign with the French national team is entitled, "Vive Le Football Libre", which roughly translates to "Long Live Free Football". This indicates the new philosophy about the team; a more flowing and attacking style which is slowly being moulded by the young coach, Laurent Blanc.

This is Nike's description of the "Vive Le Football Libre" campaign.

"A new era inspired by creativity and attacking intent.
A fresh philosophy founded on possession and obsession.
A classic shirt created through innovation and elegant design.
French football enters a new era. The revolution is here.
Vive Le Football Libre."

It certainly sounds exciting, especially accompanied by such an elegant and striking kit. With Dri-FIT technology, this kit is made from a microfiber polyester derived entirely from recycled plastic bottles. For the shirt/jersey, the recycled material is mixed with organic cotton, balancing off at 96% recycled polyester and 4% organic cotton.

The shirt also features special sleeves, which can be folded to reveal a red portion, therefore retaining the classic blue white and red of France. The shirt has a deeper color of blue and the collar is very elegant, allowing a player to wear it as he prefers.

The shirt also features a slimmer cut embodying elegance and style, the French way. The printing of the names and numbers on the back of the jersey is a new technique of perforation which makes the jersey lighter. And to top it all off, the crest is also done in a special way, reducing the overall weight of the shirt, and making it more comfortable to wear.

The new kit will be debuted February 9th at the all-Nike friendly between France and Brazil at the Stade de France. The kit along with other France sportswear will be available for retail February 5th. I really love this kit, it's a new type of unsurpassed elegance which fits perfectly with the new image France is trying to create of their team. What are your thoughts? Share your comments below!


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