Tomorrow, Mourinho will take a rag-tag group comprised largely of youth and non-internationals to the seaside town of Pescara. There, Inter will take part in a three-way with its closest rivals to entertain the throngs of Ferragosto holiday-makers. Whoopee. Last season, Inter lost this mini-tourney (came in dead-last even) plus lost a player to injury (povero Marco). This season, I would be happy with the kids getting a shot at some play time and keeping everyone healthy and intact. This is probably my least favorite friendly - the timing could hardly be worse. Most of the squad just got back from China then went back out for National duty. The boys are tired and tired players leads to broken players. But, since we are committed to participating, the least I can do is come up with a little something for you all here.
Last year Milan took us out on penalties.
What: TIM Trophy, Inter - Milan - Juve
Where: Stadio Adriatico, Pescara
When: Friday, August 14, 8:30pm local time (11:30am pacific, 2:30pm eastern)
How to Watch: RAI may be broadcasting this in the states (anyone?) or you can find a stream: MyP2P, Justin.tv, Rojadirecta, Ustream, and ATDHE.net
The Tropheo Tim has been contested between Milan, Juventus, and Inter since 2001. According to the know-it-alls over at Wikipedia, Inter has won 5 times while Milan have hoisted the trophy the other 3 times. Poor Juventus, they have no Tim Trophies at all. Given Milan's shocking preseason and our patchwork lineup, this may be their year.
Mourinho has called up 22 players:
Goalkeepers: Toldo, Julio Cesar*, Orlandoni.
Defenders: Materazzi, Rivas, Samuel, Chivu*, Santon*, Caldirola.
Midfielders: Stankovic*, Quaresma, Motta, Vieira, Krhin, Cambiasso, Obi, Mancini, Crisetig.
Strikers: Milito*, Balotelli*, Alibec, Destro (
Milito was called up for Argentina but didn't play. Whoops. Thanks everyone for the correction.)
(* = played for national team this week; italics = youth player)
As you can see, a quarter of the squad is a youth player. In addition to Obi, Krhin, and Destro, Mourinho is bringing three new guys: Luca Caldirola (Italian youth international), Lorenzo Crisetig (Italian youth international), and Denis Alibec (Romanian youth international). If you are interested in learning more about these new young prospects, Inter has posted nice little profiles of them (here).
Why all the youngsters? Well, Mou is not writing off the tournament, but with the trip to China and then international duty for many of our starting squad, there was no other choice. Mourinho said:
"It will be a chance to try a few young players and see them up against important opponents, and it will be a good opportunity for those who have played less or those who didn't play against Lazio in the Super Cup game, like Materazzi, Samuel, Vieira, Mancini or Quaresma. For them, and for my work also, it will certainly be a good opportunity. After, I expect to have everyone for Sunday's game (against the Bahrain national team) in Austria, the last friendly test before the start of the championship."
"... with the rossoneri and the nerazzurri, there are never any friendlies, no one wants to look bad." - Ciro Ferrara
This tournament is triangular with three 45 minute periods: this year Inter will play Juve first, then the loser of the first game will play Milan, then the winner of the second game will play the winner of the first game. If the score is tied at the end of 45 minutes, the game goes to penalties. Confusing, isn't it - and we haven't even gotten to the scoring. If you win you get 3 points, unless you won on penalties, and then you only get 2. Plus, if you lose the game on penalties, there is a 1-point booby prize awarded.
Basically, I expect both Juve and even Milan to beat us this game. Wait, before you all start throwing things at me, hear me out: We are at half strength while Milan would really like to win at least one pre-season friendly and Juve wants to show they can challenge for the scudetto this year. They all have an axe to grind while Mourinho seems pretty happy with the progress the squad is making and would just like to make it to the season opener with a full team at his disposal. Of course everyone always wants to win every time they take the field, but I dont think anyone is going to cry if Milan or Juve walk away with the trophy this year. Meh, maybe we will come in second this year instead of dead last. That would be nice.
Dont forget, there is still the game against the Bahrain national team on Sunday.
Honestly, does this person really look old enough to be playing professional football?!? Rene looks to be about 12 in this photo. Yikes