Geneva, June 6 (DPA) Switzerland and visiting Italy drew 1-1 in a friendly played six days before the start of the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa.
Gokhan Inler and Fabio Quagliarella were on target here Saturday in the first half at the Stade de Geneve, where both sides seemed pleased with the draw and created fewer occasions after the break.
Marcello Lippi brought major changes to the Azzurri squad that Thursday lost 1-2 to Mexico and obtained mild improvements nine days ahead of the title holders’ debut at the World Cup.
The Swiss squad came from three defeats in as many friendlies with Costa Rica, Uruguay and Norway, but had a good start before the home crowd at the Stade de Geneve and went one up on 10 minutes.
Federico Marchetti’s fingertips only managed to graze the firm drive that Inler, a midfielder playing in Italy with Udinese, drilled into the lower right corner from outside the area.
The Italian goalkeeper filling in for star Gianluigi Buffon rejoiced four minutes later as he watched Quagliarella try a first header despite the opposition of Philippe Senderos and nod past Diego Benaglio on his second attempt.
Valon Behrami and Alexander Frei missed a couple of deflections for the hosts, while Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini was twice late before the break on crosses from Christian Maggio and Riccardo Montolivo.
In the second half, both Lippi and his German counterpart Ottmar Hitzfeld brought on fresh players and tried to rehearse their tactics.
Marchetti made a single save to parry a central drive from substitute Xherdan Shaqiri.
Quagliarella was not expected to be part of the 23-man roster when the Azzurri leave for South Africa and celebrated his fourth goal from 20 caps.
‘We wanted to play well,’ he said. ‘It was an important game for all of us. Lippi asked us to try the plays we have done while training.’
Italy play their first game in Group F against Paraguay June 14, before tackling New Zealand and Slovakia.
A tough Group H awaits Switzerland with European champions Spain tackling them on June 16 before matches with Chile and Honduras.