Well here we are, a midweek edition of STTBS from me. It’s been a while since I last took care of the daily news and I’d first like to extend a huge thanks here to Vittorio who has done a brilliant job writing this column in recent months as I’m sure you’ll agree. Now, that said, I took a look around the sports pages and must admit it was sorely tempting to just file a blank page as that’s what you’d be left with were we to strictly adhere to the true title of this feature. However, I looked a little deeper and managed to find one or two gems so here we go…
Dates for the Diary
Two hugely important dates have been released this week for Juventini with the start of Pre-season training chief among them. The first team will return once again to Châtillon/Saint Vincent on Friday July, after they have spent a few days being weighed, measured and analysed at Vinovo first. The players will stay at the Scuola Alberghiera for five days of intense training at the Brunod stadium ahead of their first friendly match on Wednesday July 17.
From there the team will move immediately to their Val d’Aosta base for five days before a brief three day break from preparations. Then, on Friday July 26, Antonio Conte’s squad will fly to the USA of the 2013 Tour, playing their opening game of the International Champions Cup on Wednesday July 31 against Everton in San Fransisco.
These plans are now finalised, which is at the centre of the reluctance to scrap them for the Italian Super Cup that, at the time of writing, still has yet to be given a date or indeed location. Rumours on that front continue aplenty with Toronto the latest city to be added to a list of venues which also includes Beijing, Turin, Rome and New York.
The club have also announced the important dates for tickets sales for the 2013-14 season, with the renewal period for current season ticket holders now set to run from Tuesday June 18 until Wednesday July 3. After those people lucky enough to hold a seat last term have had their chance, they will then be given two days – Thursday July 4 to Saturday July 6 – to exchange their seat for one elsewhere in the stadium.
From there, the opportunity will cascade down to Juventus Club Premium Members who will be given from Tuesday July 9 to Saturday July 13 to take their places. Any remaining tickets – a highly unlikely scenario give or take a very small number – will then go on general sale from Tuesday July 16. These tickets cover both Serie A and Coppa Italia games, making Champions League nights the best opportunity for fans without them to get a seat among the faithful, a point well worth remembering if you are planning to take the pilgrimage to Turin next season.
It has been an interesting few days for those Bianconeri players selected to represent their countries in the current round of International fixtures. On Tuesday, no fewer than six members of the first team pulled on their nation’s shirt with some very mixed performances to be seen in various different settings. Emanuele Giaccherini and Leonardo Bonucci were given starting roles in Italy’s friendly draw with Haiti last night, with Claudio Marchisio coming off the bench to net the Azzurri’s second goal.
That strike followed a record setting one from everyone’s favourite Hobbit, Giaccherini as his goal – coming after just nineteen seconds – went straight into history as the fastest ever scored by Italy, beating a mark set way back in 1984. In contrast to that bright moment, Bonucci was at the heart of a defence which collapsed in the last ten minutes, allowing the minnows to score twice in quick succession and steal a share of the spoils.
The Under-21′s also drew – 1-1 against Norway – in their final group match of the European Championships, but Devis Mangia rested many of his stars as the result was of no consequence to his young team. They had, by winning their two previous encounters, already secured a semifinal berth and Luca Marrone will undoubtedly return to the Azzurrini side when they take on the Netherlands later this week.
Elsewhere Martin Caceres, Arturo Vidal and Mauricio Isla – who celebrated his 25th birthday on Wednesday – all took part in South American World Cup Qualifiers. The Uruguayan defender – also selected as part of Oscar Tabárez’s squad for the Confederations Cup – helped his side to a vital 1-0 win over Venezula that lifts them into the playoff spot which could see them sneak into the finals despite a dire qualification campaign. The Chilean duo both lasted the entire ninety minutes of a 3-1 victory over Bolivia with Vidal on the score sheet keep them comfortably in the automatic places.
Youth Teams March On
Despite the Primavera season drawing to a premature conclusion – comprehensively reviewed here – the various other Settore Giovanile side’s are enjoying much better finishes to their own campaigns. Ivano Della Morte and the Allievi Nazionali (Under-17) team began their Championship Finals with a 1-0 triumph over Milan on Tuesday thanks to Mattia Vitale’s superbly taken goal. Having seen off Pippo Inzaghi’s Rossoneri, they next faced Fabio Liverani’s Genoa in Montepulciano and notched a 6-1 win to advance to the Semi-Final with a game to spare.
After beating the Grifone both home and away during the regular season, there was every reason to believe they would succeed and the group stage draws to a close on Friday when Juventus face Inter at at Ponte d’Arbia with the semi-finals set to take place on Monday June 17and the tournament final is scheduled for Wednesday June 19.
The Giovanissimi Nazionali meanwhile are also into the Final Eight and will contend for the Under-15’s title in Chianciano Terme, facing Sampdoria on June 21, Inter on June 22 and Padova on June 23 in their Group B fixtures. With Empoli, Milan, Roma and Torino in Group A, the tournament will be tough as they look for a place in the Semi-Finals on Thursday June 27. But Claudio Gabetta and his team have done well this season and may yet see them clinch the Scudetto when the tournament concludes with the Final held on Saturday June 29.
But the Real Winner is…
…surely Elisabetta Muscarello who finally married Antonio Conte on Tuesday at Turin’s Santissimi Angeli Custodi Church. There were famous faces aplenty as the happy couple became husband and wife at long last.
[STTBS]: Juventus News is a daily feature where the JuventiKnows editorial team discusses the JuveNews stories you need to read, without the “Messi signs for Juve on loan thanks to Nike” kind of nonsense. What does [STTBS] mean? You’ll have to guess that for yourself. We wouldn’t tell you even under pain of torture… (though we do take bribes)