Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The First International Match of …..-Part 2 (Italy, 1910)

By 1910 many of the mainland European Nations had already made their debuts in the International Arena.
The Italian Football Federation, F.I.G.C. had been in existence since 1898 to lay the groundwork for League play. By this new decade of the 10s, the Italian Football Hierarchy were also keen to join the community of International Football.
It was ‘La Stampa’ Newspaper that proposed the idea of having a National Team to defend Italy’s colors.
As it would have it the FIFA Congress was to be held in Milan in May 1910, so the Federation planned to have its Nation’s debut around the same time as the Congress.
On January 13, 1910, F.I.G.C. President Luigi Bosisio announced in the Federations’ Official Magazine ‘Foot-Ball’ that Italy would have a National Team made up of Italian Footballers that would be selected by a Technical Commission (Commissione Tecnica Arbitrale’).


Photo From: Azzurri, Storia della Nazionale di calcio tre volte campioni del Mondo, 1910-1983
(The Eleven players who took part in the first ever match of Italy)

Photo From: Il Libro Azzurro del Calcio Italiano, Authors: Pericle Pratelli, Pasquale Scardillo, 1974
(Same photo as above in orginal format)

On January 17th, 1910, the Commission of five members met together to select a squad for the inaugural match in four months time.
The members were Alberto Crivelli (Ausonia), Gianni Camerio (Milan), Guiseppe Gama (Internazionale Milano),  Agostino Recalcati (U.S.Milanese) with Umberto Meazza (U.S. Milanese) acting as the Team’s Coach.
On April 11th, it was announced in ‘La Gazzetta’ that the Commission had selected two teams to play against one another to be whittled down into one for the match.
The Commission chose twenty-two players for this endeavor.
The First Team:
Mario De Simoni (US Milanese-Milano), Angelo Binaschi (SG Pro Vercelli), Francesco Calì  (SG Andrea Doria Genova), Guido Ara (SG Pro Vercelli), Giuseppe Milano I (SG Pro Vercelli), Pietro Leone I (SG Pro Vercelli), Franco Bontadini (FBC Internazionale- Milano), Giuseppe Rizzi (FBC Ausonia-Milano), Aldo Cevenini I (Milan FBC), Arturo Boiocchi (US Milanese-Milano), Pietro Lana (Milan FBC)

The Second Team:
Umberto Pennano (FBC Juventus-Torino), Giovani Goccione (FBC Juventus-Torino), Franco Varisco (US Milanese-Milano), Attilio Treré (FBC Ausonia-Milano), Virgilio Fossati (FBC Internazionale- Milano), Aldo Colombo (FBC Juventus-Torino), Borce, Enea Zuffi II (FBC Torino), Felice Berardo (Piemonte), Carlo Rampini I (SG Pro Vercelli), Carlo Corna (SG Pro Vercelli)

With a month remaining to the match, Italy’s opponents were still unknown. Nations such as France, Switzerland and Hungary were considered to the first adversary.
The Italian Federation wanted a victory at all cost for its first match and many believe this was the reason France were chosen. The French were seen as weaker of the three since they had lost their first two matches of the year (0-4 vs. Belgium on April 3, 1910 and 1-10 vs. England (Amateurs) on April 16th, 1910).
After deciding on France, the matters took a turn for the dramatic.

Photo From: La Nazionale Italiana, 1978
(The very first lineup of Italy, May 15, 1910, Italy 6-France 2)

In the Italian League play, Pro Vercelli and Internazionale Milano had been level on points at the conclusion of the season. Therefore, the Federation decided on a play-off match to determine the League Champion.
The date chosen for this title decider was April 24th. However, Pro Vercelli could not call upon their goalkeeper Giovanni Innocenti, as well as Vincenzo Fresia and Felice Milano II due to Military obligations.
Pro Vercelli proposed to Inter, an alternate date of May 1st for this match, however, Inter refused as they had commitments as well on that date.
Despite pleas, Inter and the Federation did not budge on the matter to reach a compromise.
As a result, the Pro Vercelli President Luigi Bozino in anger fielded a weakened team on the set date (April 24th) as a show of protest.
He fielded players from his Fourth Team (11 to 14 year olds) with some Juniors. (Some sources show 10-15 year olds)
Predictably Inter won (10-3) playing against children and won the title. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect was the fact that young boys were able to score three goals against adults.
The Federation did not take this show of defiance lightly and suspended the Pro Vercelli Team until the end of the year (December 31st).
Pro Vercelli were the pre-eminent squad in Italy at the time and their suspension had an effect on the National Team’s preparations since many of the players (Guido Ara, Guiseppe Milano I, Pietro Leone, Carlo Rampini I and Carlo Corna) would have potentially played in the match vs. France.
After the Pro Vercelli suspensions, Umberto Meazza and his collaborators were forced to conduct more experiments and include new players to select a team in time.
On May 5th, a first scrimmage was held between the two selected teams. The first team were labeled ‘The Probables’ (wearing a white shirt) and the second team were labeled as ‘The Possibles’ (wearing a light blue shirt).
The Probables:
Mario De Simoni (US Milanese-Milano), Franco Varisco (US Milanese-Milano), Francesco Calì (SG Andrea Doria Genova), Attilio Treré (FBC Ausonia-Milano), Virgilio Fossati (FBC Internazioanle Milano), Domenico Capello (FBC Torino), Franco Bontadini (FBC Internazionale- Milano), Giuseppe Rizzi (FBC Ausonia-Milano), Aldo Cevenini I (Milan FBC), Arturo Boiocchi (US Milanese-Milano), Pietro Lana (Milan FBC)

The Possibles:
Umberto Pennano (FBC Juventus-Torino), Carlo Capra (Foot Ball Club Torino), Renzo De Vecchi (Milan FBC), Aldo Colombo (FBC Juventus-Torino), Giovani Goccione (FBC Juventus-Torino),Giuseppe Caimi (US Milanese-Milano) , Ernesto Borel (FBC Juventus-Torino), Enea Zuffi II (FBC Torino),Attilio Fresia (Piemonte-Torino), Felice Berardo (Piemonte-Torino), Enrico Debernardi (FBC Torino)   

‘The Probables’ won this match (4-1), although ‘La Gazzetta’ made the error of declaring ‘The Possibles’ the winner.

A second scrimmage on May 8th, was played between ‘The Probables’ and ‘The Possibles’.
The Probables:
Mario De Simoni (US Milanese-Milano), Renzo De Vecchi (Milan FBC), Chiaffredo Mastrella (FBC Juventus-Torino), Attilio Treré (FBC Ausonia-Milano), Virgilio Fossati (FBC Internazioanle Milano), Domenico Capello (FBC Torino), Enrico Debernardi (FBC Torino), Giuseppe Rizzi (FBC Ausonia-Milano), Aldo Cevenini I (Milan FBC), Pietro Lana (Milan FBC), Arturo Boiocchi (US Milanese-Milano)

The Possibles:
Umberto Pennano (FBC Juventus-Torino), Francesco Calì (SG Andrea Doria Genova), Franco Varisco (US Milanese-Milano), Ernesto Borel (FBC Juventus-Torino), Alfredo Ferraris (Foot-Ball Club Juventus-Torino), Giovani Goccione (FBC Juventus-Torino), Edoardo Mariani (Milan FBC), Amilcare Pizzi (US Milanese-Milano), Attilio Fresia (Piemonte-Torino), Felice Berardo (Piemonte-Torino), Gustavo Carrer (Milan FBC)

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo-La Grande Storia Del calcio Italiana-1910-1912
(The Possibles squad, May 8, 1910)


‘The Probables’ once again came out victorious, this time winning 4-2. When it came to select the final squad, Francesco Calì and Franco Varisco moved up from ‘the Possibles’ to the main squad with Renzo De Vecchi and Chiaffredo Mastrella making way.
The Matchday arrived on Sunday, May 15th, in Milan where the FIFA Congress was being held.


Photo From: Azzurri, Storia della Nazionale di calcio tre volte campioni del Mondo, 1910-1983
(Aerial view of Milano’s Stadio Civico Arena where Italy played its first ever match)


The venue for this match was Milan’s Stadio Civico Arena where 4,000 fans had gathered for the Nation’s International baptism.
For their match jerseys the Italians chose the Color White, since it was more economical than having colored jerseys (the traditional blue jerseys would appear the following year).
The Shorts were at the discretion of the players. The Official Team Photo on the matchday shows six players with white shorts (including Mario De Simoni, the goalkeeper) and the other five wearing black shorts.
Francesco Calì was chosen to be the Captain since aged 28, he was the oldest.
Francesco Calì was also the first player in the History of Italian Soccer to switch teams. He joined SG Andrea Doria from Genoa in 1901.
He was a naturalized Italian from Switzerland.

Photo From: La Nazionale Italiana, 1978
(Francesco Calì, the very first Captain of Italy)

In contrast to these days, most newspapers ignored the event and its significance in its leadup.
It was no surprise that the majority of the Italian side were with Milan sides (8 in total), since the match was being held in Milan (Of course the lineup would have been different had Pro Vecrelli players been available).
The match referee chosen was the Englishman Henry Goodley.
Henry Goodley was actually a resident of Turin and part of the Italian Federation. In fact he usually refereed Juventus matches and was friendly and knew many of the Italian players.


Photo From: Guerin Sportivo-La Grande Storia Del calcio Italiana-1910-1912
(The cover of ‘Lettura Sportiva’ on May 15, 1910)

Photo From: La Nazionale Italiana, 1978
(Tactical formation of the teams, May 15, 1910, Italy 6-France 2)

In addition to poor form, the French guests had other problems. French Club Patronage Olier refused to release Eugene Maes and Ernest Tossier.
It took the French a 16 hour train journey to arrive at the morning of the match (5 AM) at Milan.
They were exhausted and it showed in their play. Italy took the field and naturally defeated the tired and worn out French side.

Photo From: L’Equipe, L’Equipe de France de Football, la Belle Histoire
(An Illustration showing the match, In the drawing the Italian jersey shows the Italian flag on it, but in the official team photo, they were simply white jerseys, In addition the Italian players are shown wearing black shorts, but only about half the squad were wearing black shorts)

Pietro Lana became the first ever goalscorer of Italy by scoring in the 13th minute. Virgilio Fossati doubled the lead in the 20th minute. Italy went to halftime with a two goal lead. Early in the second half (49th minute), France pulled a goal back through Henri Sellier.
Pietro Lana scored Italy’s third and his second in the 59th minute.
France’s Jean Ducret scored another for France three minutes later, but this was the extent of France’s resistance and just a few minutes later Giuseppe Rizzi scored Italy’s fourth to make victory certain for the hosts.
Enrico Debernardi scored Italy’s fifth in the 82nd minute and just a minute before the end Pietro Lana scored Italy’s Sixth on a penalty kick.
That day Pietro Lana, in addition to being Italy’s first goalscorer, also scored Italy’s first ever hat trick and scored Italy’s first ever penalty kick.

Photo From: Il Libro Azzurro del Calcio Italiano, Authors: Pericle Pratelli, Pasquale Scardillo, 1974
(Pietro Lana)

It has been reported that fans actually threw packs of cigarettes onto the field at the end of the match as gifts for the players.
Just like the pre-match coverage, the newspapers were mostly lukewarm to this historical match. “Corriere della Sera” discussed it very briefly and only “La Gazzetta dello Sport” discussed it to some extent.
Just eleven days later (May 26th), Italy took its first trip abroad and lost at Budapest to Hungary (1-6). Clearly much work lay ahead to make headway against the best of the continent.
Inter’s Virgilio Fossati would tragically be killed on June 29th, 1916, during the fighting in World War I, aged just 26.

Photo From: La Nazionale Italiana, 1978
(Virgilio Fossati of Internazionale Milano)

Franco Varisco would be the final Italian survivor of this History making Italy squad. He passed away on January 5th, 1974 (according to some sources, some others are sketchy).
Aldo Cevenini I passed away just a few months prior on October 26th, 1973.
This first match vs. France was the first step for a Nation that would win two World Cups in less than thirty years after this match. The game would grow beyond anyone’s belief in Italy in club and International level.


Photo From: Guerin Sportivo-La Grande Storia Del calcio Italiana-1910-1912
(Mario De Simoni)

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo-La Grande Storia Del calcio Italiana-1910-1912
(Giuseppe Rizzi and Attilio Treré, May 8, 1910)


Italian First ever XI:
Mario De Simoni (1887- 1967)
Franco Varisco (1879/1974) (some sources show a date of birth of 1887 which is probably more accurate, since Cali was thought to be the oldest that day)
Francesco Calì (captain) (1882-1949)
Attilio Treré (1887-1943)
Virgilio Fossati (1890-1916)
Domenico Capello (1888/1950)
Enrico Debernardi (1885-1972)
Giuseppe Rizzi (1886-1960)
Aldo Cevenini I (1886-1973)
Pietro Lana (1888-1950)
Arturo Boiocchi (1888-1964)
Note: Please note that some of the dates of births and deaths may vary from source to source as well as the Internet. ‘Il Libro Azzuro’ (1998) was used as my main source for the dates.


Photo From: Il Libro Azzuro, Author: Walter Perosino, 1998
(Another photograph of Italy’s first lineup, May 15, 1910, Italy 6-France 2)

Note:
1- F.I.G,C. stands for Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio, which is the Italian Football Federation.
2- Some sources show Inter’s victory over the weakened Pro Vercelli side as (11-3), but most sources show the score as (10-3).
3-According to most sources Francesco Calì was selected as Captain since he was the oldest at age 28. However, some sources show Franco Varisco to have been born in 1879, three years before Cali.
4- In Italy’s match at Budapest vs. Hungary, eleven days after this match on May 26th , Aldo Cevenini I became the first ever player to be substituted for Italy. He was replaced in the second half by Renzo De Vecchi.
Cevenini was from a dynasty of five footballer brothers.



May 15, 1910
Italy 6-France 2
Friendly
Venue: Milano -Stadio Civico Arena
Attendance: 4,000
Referee: Henry Goodley (England)
Goalscorers:
(Italy): Pietro Lana 13,59,89 pen, Virgilio Fossati 20, Giuseppe Rizzi 66, Enrico Debernardi 82
(France): Henri Sellier 49, Jean Ducret 62
Lineups:
Italy:
Mario De Simoni (Unione Sportiva Milanese-Milano)
Franco Varisco (Unione Sportiva Milanese-Milano)
Francesco Calì (captain) (Società Ginnastica Andrea Doria Genova)
Attilio Treré (Foot Ball Club Ausonia-Milano)
Virgilio Fossati (Foot Ball Club Internazionale- Milano)
Domenico Capello (Foot Ball Club Torino)  
Enrico Debernardi (Foot Ball Club Torino)   
Giuseppe Rizzi (Foot Ball Club Ausonia-Milano) 
Aldo Cevenini I (Milan Foot Ball Club) 
Pietro Lana (Milan Foot Ball Club) 
Arturo Boiocchi (Unione Sportiva Milanese-Milano)

Federation’s Technical Commission
Coach: Umberto  Meazza

France:
Tessier (A.S. Bon Conseil)
D. Mercier (Etoile des Deux Lacs-Paris)
André Sollier (Club Athlétique de Vitry)
Jean Rigal (Association Football de la Garenne Colombes)
Jean Ducret (Etoile des Deux Lacs-Paris)  
Henri Vascout (Club Athlétique de Vitry) 
Maurice Olivier (Etoile des Deux Lacs-Paris) 
Henri Bellocq (Etoile des Deux Lacs-Paris) 
Henri ‘Léon’ Mouton (Etoile des Deux Lacs-Paris) 
Henri Sellier (Etoile des Deux Lacs-Paris)  
Etienne Jourde (captain) (Club Athlétique de Vitry)

Federation’s Technical Commission
Other Substitutes:
H. Sentenac (Etoile des Deux Lacs-Paris)
Note: There are no records of the first names of Tessier, Mercier and Sentenac


References:
L'Integrale de L'Equipe de France de Football, Authors: J.M. and Pierre Cazal, Michel Oreggia, 1998
L’Equipe, L’Equipe de France de Football, la Belle Histoire
La Nazionale Italiana, 1978
Il Libro Azzuro, Author: Walter Perosino, 1998
Azzurri, Storia della Nazionale di calcio tre volte campioni del Mondo, 1910-1983
Il Libro Azzurro del Calcio Italiano, Authors: Pericle Pratelli, Pasquale Scardillo, 1974
Guerin Sportivo-La Grande Storia Del calcio Italiana-1910-1912

Photo From: Azzurri, Storia della Nazionale di calcio tre volte campioni del Mondo, 1910-1983
(Another Illustration of Italy’s first lineup, May 15, 1910, Italy 6-France 2)

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