Wales find Italian experiment fails

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The Independent Online

Italy 3 Wales 0

Bobby Gould, the Wales manager, saw his experiment with a new system, in which Nottingham Forest's David Phillips played sweeper and Kit Symons had a screening role in front of Adrian Williams and Chris Coleman, fail miserably in Terni last night.

The Welsh barely had time to get used to the tactical formation when they found themselves behind to a goal by Juventus' young striker Alessandro Del Piero, whose shot went in off Neville Southall.

Wales's restored strike force of Mark Hughes and Ian Rush were virtual spectators, with the ball stuck in the Welsh half. Southall, the Everton goalkeeper, extending his Welsh international appearance record to 85 games, excelled himself in the 18th minute when another superb delivery from Roberto Di Matteo put Gianfranco Zola clear.

With Phillips moving back into a more familiar midfield role and Symons and Williams reverting to defence, Wales threatened the Italian goal for the first time. Hughes was fouled by Antonio Conte and the Welsh pushed up, hoping that Glyn Hodges' dead-ball delivery would be as good as Gould had predicted, but the free-kick fell comfortably into the hands of Angelo Peruzzi.

The Welsh resistance could not last and the second Italian goal came five minutes after the restart. Substitute Moreno Torrichelli played the ball in to Fabrizio Ravanelli, who turned and fired home a left-footed shot.

Italy's dominance in the second half was even greater and it was only slack finishing that spared the Welsh. Del Piero was the most guilty, but his replacement, Pierluigi Casiraghi, completed Wales' misery when he struck Italy's third. The goal came from substitute Nathan Blake's first touch, the ball stopping in a puddle, but Ravanelli crossed for Casiraghi to poke home, his shot just having enough power to roll over the line.

ITALY: Peruzzi; Ferrara (both Juventus), Carboni (Roma), Di Matteo (Lazio), Costacurta (Milan), Apolloni (Parma), Di Livio (Juventus), Albertini (Milan), Del Piero (Juventus), Zola (Parma), Ravanelli (Juventus). Substitutes used: Toldo (Fiorentina) for Peruzzi, 46; Conte (Juventus) for Di Matteo, 23; Casiraghi (Lazio) for Del Piero, 73.

WALES: Southall (Everton), Jenkins (Hudersfield), Coleman (Blackburn), Phillips (Nottm Forest), Williams (Reading), Symons (Man City), Horne (Everton, capt), Hodges (Sheff Utd), Rush (Liverpool), Hughes, (Chelsea), Speed (Leeds). Substitutes used: Browning (Bristol Rovers) for Hodges, 57; Taylor (Crystal Palace) for Rush, 64; Blake (Bolton) for Speed, 77.

Referee: G Goethals (Bel).

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n Simone Barbaglia, a Milan supporter, was yesterday found guilty of the murder of a Genoa fan before a match between the two sides last January, and was sentenced to 11 years in jail.