The United States men's soccer team can now boast that it has beaten Italy.
GENOA, Italy — It took 11 games over eight decades, but the United States men’s soccer team can now boast that it has beaten Italy. The victory, on a chilly night, came in a friendly match and not in a tournament, but it was sweet nonetheless for a U.S. team being reshaped by its coach, Jurgen Klinsmann.
The Americans have been competitive on the world stage for years now, but they do not often beat elite teams. They did so Wednesday, courtesy of a second-half goal by Clint Dempsey that was just the fifth scored by the U.S. against Italy in the 78 years since they began playing each other.
“If you beat Italy on their own soil, it means a lot,” Klinsmann said, obviously pleased with his team’s most impressive performance since he took over as coach late last July. “For our players this was big; it was a big step. I think they’ve done an awesome job. We said months ago that we want to play the biggest teams we can so we can improve.”
In 10 games under Klinsmann, the U.S. team is 5-4-1, but its four other victories were over Slovenia, Panama, Venezuela and Honduras, none of them near the level of the Italians.
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Alex Morgan scored two goals, Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd and Sydney Leroux had one apiece, and the United States opened defense of its Algarve Cup title with a 5-0 win over Denmark in Lagos, Portugal.
Seeking their ninth Algarve Cup title and third in a row, the Americans went ahead on a goal by Morgan in the 21st minute. Wambach doubled the lead in the 44th with her 132nd international goal, second only to Mia Hamm’s 158.
Former Huskies star Hope Solo was the shutout goalie.
• Roberto Soldado had a hat trick to lead defending European champion Spain to a 5-0 win over Venezuela in Malaga.
• France extended its unbeaten run to 18 matches as Oliver Giroud and Florent Malouda scored in a 2-1 victory over Germany in Bremen.
• The Netherlands won 3-2 at England when Arjen Robben scored his second goal of the game in stoppage time.
• Lionel Messi scored his first international hat trick as Argentina beat Switzerland 3-1 in Bern.
• Saudi Arabia was eliminated from Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup with a 4-2 loss at Australia, while South Korea, Lebanon, Oman and Qatar advanced to the final round.
• Former U.S. national-team captain Claudio Reyna and goalkeeper Tony Meola were elected to the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. Former defender Desmond Armstrong was elected on the veterans’ ballot, and former women’s national-team coach Tony DiCicco on the builder ballot.