Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Preparations of a Host (or Defending Champion)-Part Two (Italy 1988/90)-Part c (Fall 1989)


III. 1989/90 season (Fall 1989)



Preparatory Friendly match Number 9-Bulgaria (September 20, 1989, Cesena)

Italy started the new season that would culminate with the World Cup on September 20th vs. Bulgaria at Cesena.
This match has gone down in history as the match that made Italy and the World to take notice of Baggio as an International star. Following his performance, Italy went in a state of Baggio-mania after his two-goal display.
Just days earlier he had scored a brilliant solo goal vs. Napoli that had made the headlines.
For this match, Vicini had maintained his defensive formation. Giannini and De Napoli kept their places in midfield. On September 17, 1989, Donadoni and Berti pulled out through injuries. Their absence allowed Marocchi to start along with Baggio (replacing Donadoni on the right wing, but mostly playing just behind the front two).
Upfront, Carnevale seemed to have Vicini’s confidence as Vialli’s partner as Mancini and Serena remained on the bench.
For the first time, Sampdoria’s young goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca was called up. It appeared the position of the third goalkeeper had been settled.
Luca Fusi remained on the bench with his prospects dwindling.
Baggio’s performance and the media clamor forced Vicini a rethink to accommodate such a talent and declare that he is ‘in his plans’.
He was not a striker but also not a midfield playmaker, he was effective just behind the front two and not constrained to the wing like he had been in his earlier selections.


Date: September 20, 1989
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Cesena -Stadio Dino Manuzzi      
Attendance: 25,000
Italy 4-Bulgaria 0 (Roberto Baggio 18 pen, 34, Andrea Carnevale 46, Own Goal (Nikolai Iliev) 53)
Italy: Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi (captain) (Ciro Ferrara 76), Paolo Maldini (Luigi De Agostini 61), Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri, Giancarlo Marocchi (Massimo Crippa 68), Roberto Baggio, Fernando De Napoli, Gianluca Vialli, Giuseppe Giannini, Andrea Carnevale



Photo From: World Soccer, November 1989
(Roberto Baggio scoring, September 20, 1989, Italy 4-Bulgaria 0)




Photo From: (screen capture)
(September 20, 1989, Italy 4-Bulgaria 0)



Photo From: (screen capture)

(September 20, 1989, Italy 4-Bulgaria 0)

Preparatory Friendly match Number 10-Brazil (October 14, 1989, Bologna)

Italy faced their most difficult test in their friendly vs. Brazil in Bologna on October 14th.
Vicini kept his defensive formation with the exception of Luigi De Agostini starting at left-back ahead of Maldini.
De Napoli and Giannini kept their places in midfield and Berti continued to start in Ancelotti’s continuous absence. Donadoni’s absence allowed Baggio to start once again, while upfront Vicini maintained Vialli with Carnevale.
The Brazilians were superior on the day and won through an Andre Cruz free kick. The press narrative centered on how Brazil played like the Italians of the old and vice versa (They noted how Brazil played with five defenders, four in a flat formation in front of one Libero).
This was Italy’s first loss at home during preparation and the second after their loss in Romania.
This would the last goal conceded by Walter Zenga until the World Cup semifinal vs. Argentina on July 3rd, 1990.
Conversely, this would also be a start of a goal-drought by Italy, which only added to the continuous debate regarding Vialli’s partner.
For more detail, see:



Date: October 14, 1989
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Bologna -Stadio Renato Dall'Ara
Attendance: 36,000
Italy 0-Brazil 1 (AndrĂ© Alves da Cruz 77)
Italy: Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi (captain), Luigi De Agostini, Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri (Ciro Ferrara 46), Nicola Berti, Roberto Baggio, Fernando De Napoli, Gianluca Vialli, Giuseppe Giannini (Luca Fusi 58), Andrea Carnevale


Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 766 (Number 42), October 18-24, 1989
(October 14, 1989, Italy 0-Brazil 1)


Photo From: Onze-Mondial, January 1994
(Roberto Baggio, October 14, 1989, Italy 0-Brazil 1)



Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 766 (Number 42), October 18-24, 1989
(Gianluca Vialli and Ricardo Rocha, October 14, 1989, Italy 0-Brazil 1)



Photo From: World Soccer, Novem,ber 1989
(Andrea Carnevalle between Mazinho and Andre Cruz, October 14, 1989, Italy 0-Brazil 1)


Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Hors Serie 3, 1990
(Dunga and Baggio, October 14, 1989, Italy 0-Brazil 1)

Preparatory Friendly match Number 11-Algeria (November 11, 1989, Vicenza)

Italy would face two opponents days apart in November (Algeria and England).
The match vs. Algeria was on November 11th at Vicenza.
Vicini kept his defensive formation with the exception of Luigi De Agostini starting at left-back ahead of Maldini for the second match running. Ferrara made his customary second half substitute appearance.
De Napoli and Giannini kept their places in midfield with Marocchi and Baggio starting in midfield ahead of Donadoni and Berti.
For the fourth match running, Carnevale partnered Vialli upfront. Serena would come in the second half and volley in the winner as Italy continued to struggle upfront. Fusi, Crippa and Mancini remained on the bench.


Date: November 11, 1989
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Vicenza-Stadio Romeo Menti
Attendance: 26,000
Italy 1-Algeria 0 (Aldo Serena 74)
Italy: Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi (captain) (Ciro Ferrara 46), Luigi De Agostini, Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri, Giancarlo Marocchi, Roberto Baggio,  Fernando De Napoli (Roberto Donadoni 51), Gianluca Vialli, Giuseppe Giannini, Andrea Carnevale (Aldo Serena 70)


Photo From: WC 90 - CORRIERE DELLO SPORT - GUIDA
(November 11, 1989, Italy 1-Algeria 0)


Photo From: kicker_WM-Sonderheft_1990
(Italy squad, November 11, 1989, Italy 1-Algeria 0)



Preparatory Friendly match Number 12-England (November 15, 1989, London)

For their second match in November, Italy traveled to Wembley to face a potential rival, England.
It was yet another tight affair that ended scoreless giving no indication of Italy’s strengths, but its continuous struggles upfront.
Vicini started his standard defensive formation with Maldini back in. The midfield was also the settled one as Doandoni, Berti, Giannini and De Napoli took their positions. Donadoni most notably had an excellent match.
Maldini took some criticism, as he was unable to control Waddle in the wing. Years later in an interview he described Waddle as his toughest adversary.
For the fifth match in a row, Vialli and Carnevale played together upfront.
Baggio and Serena would be introduced in the second half to no avail.
Crippa remained on the bench and would not be called up again and his World Cup prospects were over.


Date: November 15, 1989
Competition: Friendly
Venue: London –Wembley Stadium
Attendance: 80,000
England 0-Italy 0
Italy: Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi (captain), Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri, Nicola Berti, Roberto Donadoni, Fernando De Napoli,
Gianluca Vialli (Roberto Baggio 82), Giuseppe Giannini, Andrea Carnevale (Aldo Serena 76)

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 771 (Number 47), November 22-28, 1989
(Nicola Berti and John Barnes, November 15, 1989, England 0-Italy 0)


Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 771 (Number 47), November 22-28, 1989
(Peter Shilton and Walter Zenga, November 15, 1989, England 0-Italy 0)

Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 771 (Number 47), November 22-28, 1989
(November 15, 1989, England 0-Italy 0)



Preparatory Friendly match Number 13-Argentina (December 21, 1989, Cagliari)

The year ended with perhaps the most dour and aesthetically unpleasing match of the year. Italy faced Diego Maradona’s Argentina in Calgliari on December 21st.  Any match vs. a Bilardo managed Argentina was bound to be defensive, but the display witnessed (that predictably included a multitude of fouls (63 in total awarded)) was roundly criticized.
Vicini warned that this was to be expected at the upcoming World Cup and the audience should get used to it (unfortunately a true prediction).
From Italy’s customary defensive set-up, Ferri was missing, which allowed the dependable Ferrara to start.
Vicini maintained his strongest midfield: Donadoni, De Napoli, Giannini and Berti.
Upfront, Vicini started Vialli with Serena upfront (instead of Carnevale).
Mancini made his first appearance of the season as a substitute, while Fusi made his last (he would be called up once more in the new year but not play).


Date: December 21, 1989
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Cagliari -Stadio Sant'Elia
Attendance: 29,635
Italy 0-Argentina 0
Italy: Walter Zenga (Stefano Tacconi 46), Giuseppe Bergomi (captain), Paolo Maldini (Luigi De Agostini 46), Franco Baresi, Ciro Ferrara, Nicola Berti, Roberto Donadoni (Roberto Mancini 46), Fernando De Napoli, Gianluca Vialli (Luca Fusi 69), Giuseppe Giannini, Aldo Serena


Photo From: World Soccer, June 1990
(Diego Maradona and Nicola Berti, December 21, 1989, Italy 0-Argentina 0)



Photo From: Soccer International, Volume 1, Issue 2, February 1990
(Diego Maradona in an Italian Jersey, December 21, 1989, Italy 0-Argentina 0)


Photo From: El Grafico Number 3664, 1989
(Giuseppe Giannini and Jorge Burruchaga, December 21, 1989, Italy 0-Argentina 0)


Monday, April 6, 2020

Preparations of a Host (or Defending Champion)-Part Two (Italy 1988/90)-Part b (Spring 1989)


II. 1988/89 season (Spring 1989)

Italy’s first friendly of the new year (1989) was at Pisa vs. Denmark. Vicini maintained his defensive formation (along with a substitute appearance by Ferrara). While Ferrara’s prospects as a starter were unlikely, he was clearly a dependable deputy in case of injury or suspension.
Vicini also maintained his standard midfield with Berti ably filling in Ancelotti’s continued absences.
Upfront Vicini once again partnered Vialli with Serena, whose best goalsocring season could not be ignored.
He further added competition for the spot by giving a debut to Stefano Borgonovo as a substitute.
Massimo Crippa would make his last appearance of the season as a substitute.
As for the rest the likes of Tacconi, Marocchi, Baggio and Mancini remained on the bench.
The match was another tight affair with Bergomi scraping a goal for Italians scoring with his chest off a free kick..


Preparatory Friendly match Number 4-Denmark (February 22, 1989, Pisa)

Date: February 22, 1989
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Pisa -Stadio Arena Garibaldi
Attendance: 21,000
Italy 1-Denmark 0 (Guiseppe Bergomi 61)
Italy: Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi (captain), Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri (Ciro Ferrara 46), Nicola Berti, Roberto Donadoni (Massimo Crippa 67), Fernando De Napoli, Gianluca Vialli (Stefano Borgonovo 74), Giuseppe Giannini, Aldo Serena  
Note:
1-In bold, new caps.




Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, 1989



(February 22, 1989, Italy 1-Denmark 0)




Preparatory Friendly match Number 5-Austria (March 25, 1989, Vienna)

Italy’s next two matches would be on the road days apart in Austria and Romania. These were Italy’s first two matches away from home during the preparation phase.
The first match was at Vienna’s Praterstadion (incidentally they would be Italy’s first opponents at the World Cup in a year’s time).
For the first time Vicini handed out no debuts and maintained an unchanged side. At this point in Ancelotti’s absence, Berti was his replacement and Serena appeared to be the preferred choice upfront with Vialli.
Borgonovo would make another substitute appearance replacing the injured Serena early on in the match. Luigi De Agostini would also earn a substitute appearance at left back. In fact it would be from his cross that Berti scored the winner near the end with a downward header. Just prior to the World Cup, Italian Magazine Guerin Sportivo had asked each player, when they knew they were sure to make the Finals squad. Berti’s response was that when he scored this winner, he was convinced he was in.


Date: March 25, 1989
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Vienna (Wien)-Praterstadion
Attendance: 23,000
Austria 0-Italy 1 (Nicola Berti 88)
Italy: Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi, Paolo Maldini (Luigi De Agostini 46), Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri, Nicola Berti, Roberto Donadoni, Fernando De Napoli, Gianluca Vialli, Giuseppe Giannini, Aldo Serena (Stefano Borgonovo 21)


Photo From: FUWO, Issue 13, March 28, 1989
(March 25, 1989, Austria 0-Italy 1)


Photo From: (Screen capture)
(March 25, 1989, Austria 0-Italy 1)

 
Photo From: (Screen capture)
(March 25, 1989, Austria 0-Italy 1)


Preparatory Friendly match Number 6-Romania (March 29, 1989, Sibiu)

Four days after their match vs. Austria, Italy faced Romania in Sibiu. Vicini rested Maldini and gave a start to Ferrara. While Serena’s injury forced absence allowed Borgonovo to start for the first and only time.
Italy lost for the first time in this preparation period as Sabau’s goal made the difference.
The second-half introductions of Maldini, Baggio and Marocchi made no difference.
Back-up goalkeeper Tacconi and the Napoli pair of Fusi and Crippa were the only players on the tour who saw no action.


Date: March 29, 1989
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Sibiu, Municipal Stadium
Attendance: 20,000
Romania 1-Italy 0 (Ioan Ovidiu Sabau 48)
Italy: Walter Zenga,  Giuseppe Bergomi (captain) (Giancarlo Marocchi 51), Ciro Ferrara,  Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri (Paolo Maldini 38), Nicola Berti, Roberto Donadoni (Roberto Baggio 65), Fernando De Napoli,  Gianluca Vialli, Giuseppe Giannini, Stefano Borgonovo


Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 739 (Number 15),  April 12-18, 1989
(March 29, 1989, Romania 1-Italy 0)


Preparatory Friendly match Number 7-Uruguay (April 22, 1989, Verona)

The season drew to a close with another two-match series this time at home vs. Uruguay and Hungary.
Italy faced a South American Nation (and non-European) for the first time during the preparation at Verona on April 22nd.
The need for experimentation and especially the European club competitions’ semifinals (on April 19th) forced Vicini for a reshuffle.
The standard defensive formation was maintained with the exception of De Agostini starting at left-back instead of Maldini. In midfield, Berti and Giannini kept their places. Donadoni and De Napoli were rested with Marocchi and Baggio starting in their place. Vialli and Serena were paired upfront.
Despite maintaining Serena, Vicini was still not convinced with the position and gave an International debut to Napoli striker Andrea Carnevale as a substitute.
The match ended in a (1-1) tie and is also remembered for Baggio’s first goal for the National Team (from a free kick).


Date: April 22, 1989
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Verona -Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi
Attendance: 15,000
Italy 1-Uruguay 1 (Roberto Baggio 65 / Carlos Aguilera 83)
Italy: Walter Zenga (Stefano Tacconi 46), Giuseppe Bergomi (captain), Luigi De Agostini, Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri, Nicola Berti, Roberto Baggio, Giancarlo Marocchi, Gianluca Vialli (Andrea Carnevale 40), Giuseppe Giannini, Aldo Serena
Note:
1-In bold, new caps.


Photo From: Guerin Sportivo, Issue 741 (Number 17), April 26-May 2, 1989
(April 22, 1989, Italy 1-Uruguay 1)


Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 5, June 1989
(April 22, 1989, Italy 1-Uruguay 1)


Preparatory Friendly match Number 8-Hungary (April 26, 1989, Taranto)

Four days later at Taranto, Italy faced a weak Hungarian side. Vicini chose to rest Bergomi with Ferrara deputizing for him Maldini was back in defense.
Donadoni and De Napoli likewise took their customary spots in midfield with Berti and Giannini. Upfront, Vicini chose to partner Vialli with Carnevale.
It was a comfortable win for the Italians (4-0) and a positive way to close out the season with Carnevale scoring in his second match and stake a claim for the coveted spot to partner Vialli.

As this first season of preparation closed, Vicini was as confident as ever in his defensive formation of Zenga-Bergomi-Baresi-Ferri-Maldini with Tacconi, Ferrara and De Agostini as able alternatives.
In midfield, Ancelotti’s absence was worrisome but Berti’s was a welcome addition. Donadoni, De Napoli and Giannini were also set in their positions, but did not seem to have adequate alternatives.
The continuous debate centered around who could partner Vialli upfront as Mancini, Serena, Borgonovo and now Carnevale were all tested without much success. 
Baggio’s potential was obvious but his final position in the squad was still unclear at this point.
From the newcomers, Berti had been the most consistent addition. Mancini appeared to be in a worse position than the year before, while the likes of Fusi and Crippa seemed unlikely to dislodge anyone.


Date: April 26, 1989
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Taranto -Stadio Erasmo Jacovone
Attendance: 25,000
Italy 4-Hungary 0 (Gianluca Vialli 8, Riccardo Ferri 53, Nicola Berti 67, Andrea Carnevale 77)
Italy: Walter Zenga,  Ciro Ferrara,  Paolo Maldini (Giuseppe Bergomi 78), Franco Baresi,  Riccardo Ferri, Nicola Berti, Roberto Donadoni,  Fernando De Napoli,  Gianluca Vialli (captain) (Aldo Serena 46), Giuseppe Giannini (Luca Fusi 73), Andrea Carnevale  


Photo From: Guerin Sportivo
(April 26, 1989, Italy 4-Hungary 0)


Photo From: (Screen capture)
(Team Captains, April 26, 1989, Italy 4-Hungary 0)


Photo From: (Screen capture)
(April 26, 1989, Italy 4-Hungary 0)

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Preparations of a Host (or Defending Champion)-Part Two (Italy 1988/90)-Part a (Fall 1988)


Azeglio Vicini was appointed as Italy Manager in the aftermath of the 1986 World Cup and the reign of Enzo Bearzot. Vicini had been in the National Team set-up for many years. He had been Assistant to Bearzot and the Manager of the Under-21 squad. His task was to rejuvenate an Italian squad that had stagnated since the 1982 World Cup triumph. His long-term goal was to prepare a team for the 1990 World Cup that Italy were to host.
However, the immediate objective was the 1988 Euros and he would use the qualifiers as well as the Finals to mold a team in line for the 1990 primary objective.


Photo From: Soccer International, Volume 1, Issue 2, February 1990
(Azeglio Vicini)



Upon taking over he elevated many of his former Under-21 charges and started phasing out some of the veterans during the Euro qualifiers as well as the friendlies.
He rebuilt the defense based on the Inter-AC Milan axis. Since the retirement of Dino Zoff, Italy had no settled number one and alternated between Franco Tancredi (AS Roma) and Giovanni Galli in the latter years of Bearzot’s reign. Vicini immediately installed Inter’s Walter Zenga as his number one and he would remain so for the rest of his tenure.
He discarded Sampdoria’s Pietro Vierchowod as his stopper and made Inter’s Riccardo Ferri as his choice.
Inter’s experienced yet still young veteran Giuseppe Bergomi remained as right-back. In fact he would become his captain following the eventual International exits of Cabrini and Altobelli.
For the left-back position, he maintained Antonio Cabrini late into the qualifiers before (temporarily) choosing Napoli’s Giovanni Francini. However, he would in turn be eclipsed by the teenage Paolo Maldini (AC Milan) just months ahead of the Euros.
It would for the position of Libero that Vicini would make the most significant appointment. Following Gaetano Scirea’s International retirement following the 1986 World Cup, it had been assumed that Roberto Tricella was being groomed to be his successor. Instead, Vicini preferred AC Milan captain Franco Baresi for the task.
In midfield, Vicini installed AC Milan’s Roberto Donadoni on the right wing. Fernando De Napoli (Napoli) maintained his place in midfield that he had gained in the run-up to the 1986 World Cup. AS Roma’s young midfielder Giuseppe Giannini was handed the reins of playmaker in the new Vicini regime.
Napoli’s tough midfielder Salvatore Bagni had Vicini’s confidence into the qualifiers, but AC Milan’s Carlo Ancelotti would overtake his position ahead of the 1988 Euros.
Upfront Sampdoria’s Gianluca Vialli was to be Vicini’s forward and main avenue for goals. Inter veteran Alessandro Altobelli was kept in the squad, but Vicini’s ultimate goal was to partner Vialli with his Sampdoria club-mate Roberto Mancini. Bearzot had blacklisted Mancini after he had broken curfew in New York in 1984 in a Tour of North America. Upon taking over Vicini ended the exile and ushered the talented Mancini back into the squad.
The Euros were generally positive for the Italians and despite being eliminated in the semifinals, the future looked bright for this young team.
Vicini now had two years of friendly matches to iron out a team that he had built.



I. 1988/89 season (Fall 1988)

Preparatory Friendly match Number 1-Norway (October 19, 1988, Pescara)

Italy’s first friendly of the season was against Norway at Pescara. During the 1988 Euros, Vicini had built a settled squad consisting of Zenga in goal, Bergomi-Baresi-Ferri-Maldini in defense, Donadoni-Giannini-Ancelloti-De Napoli in midfield and Vialli-Mancini upfront. For this match, he maintained all the players except Ancelotti. His injuries and unavailability would be a constant theme in the run-up for the World Cup and would make his next appearance in 1990 just months ahead of the World Cup. His absence would allow Vicini give a debut to new Inter midfielder Nicola Berti, who would have a magnificent season for a record-breaking Inter side.
Napoli defender Ciro Ferrara as well as Juventus’ Luigi De Agostini would make substitute appearance. The pair were dependable cover in defense (though De Agostini could also cover in midfield).
AS Roma striker Ruggiero Rizzitelli would also appear as a substitute.
Napoli’s Francini was called up but saw no action. Roberto Baggio, having a wonderful season with Fiorentina, was called up for the first time ever but for this match he had to contend with being on the bench only.
Italy were rarely troubled in a rather easy win (2-1) and the highlight was Ferri’s impressive indirect free kick goal.

Date: October 19, 1988
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Pescara -Stadio Adriatico
Attendance: 15,000
Italy 2-Norway 1 (Giuseppe Giannini 18 pen, Riccardo Ferri 29 / Sverre Brandhaug 40 pen)
Italy: Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi (captain)(Ciro Ferrara 46), Paolo Maldini (Luigi De Agostini 64), Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri, Nicola Berti, Roberto Donadoni, Fernando De Napoli, Gianluca Vialli, Giuseppe Giannini, Roberto Mancini (Ruggiero Rizzitelli 46)
Note:
1-In bold, new caps.



                                         Photo From: (Screen capture)
(October 19, 1988, Italy 2-Norway 1)




                                            Photo From: (Screen capture)
(October 19, 1988, Italy 2-Norway 1)



Preparatory Friendly match Number 2-Holland (November 16, 1988, Roma)

Italy’s next match was against the recent 1988 Euro winners Holland for the occasion of the Italian Federation (F.I.G.C.)’s 90th Anniversary at Rome.
Italy’s AC Milan contingent were facing their club-mates Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten (soon to be Ballon d’Or) on the opposing side.
This match is mostly remembered as Roberto Baggio’s debut for the National Team. He was chosen to partner Vialli upfront as Vicini appeared to be having doubts about Mancini. A dependable partner for Vialli would be the main doubt and worry for Vicini for the rest of the preparation phase and into the World Cup.
Juventus goalkeeper veteran Stefano Tacconi earned a rare start with an unchanged defensive four. Ancelotti had to once again withdraw due to injury and Luigi De Agostini stepped in his place. Donadoni also missed this match, allowing Rizzitelli to start. It would be his last match and would be out of contention for the World Cup (though he would make a comeback in the tail end of Vicini’s reign in 1991).
Vialli, set up by Baggio, settled the match with a solitary strike.
Conclusions could not be drawn from a dour match against an opposition containing many inexperienced players and missing many regulars, most notably AC Milan’s own Ruud Gullit.
Zenga’s absence earned the late Napoli goalkeeper Giulliano Giuliani a call-up (his one and only). While Tacconi was firmly set as Zenga’s back-up, the position of third goalkeeper was still up for grabs.
Giovanni Francini was once again called up, but ignored.
The other newcomer call-up was that of Fiorentina striker Stefano Borgonovo (also sadly passed on since). He was having a wonderful partnership with Baggio at Fiorentina (on-loan from AC Milan) and knocking in the goals. He would have to wait a bit longer for his debut.


Date: November 16, 1988
Competition: Friendly (F.I.G.C. 90th Anniversary match)
Venue: Roma – Lo Stadio Olimpico
Attendance: 27,878
Italy 1-Holland 0 (Gianluca Vialli 44)
Italy: Stefano Tacconi, Giuseppe Bergomi (captain), Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri, Luigi De Agostini (Nicola Berti 81), Ruggiero Rizzitelli  (Ciro Ferrara 52), Fernando De Napoli, Gianluca Vialli, Giuseppe Giannini, Roberto Baggio
Note:
1-In bold, new caps.



Photo From: France Football, Issue 2231, January 10, 1989
(Giuseppe Giannini and Frank Rijkaard, November 16, 1988, Italy 1-Holland 0)




Photo From: World Soccer, February 1990
(Gianluca Vialli, November 16, 1988, Italy 1-Holland 0)




Photo From: Guerin Sportivo
(November 16, 1988, Italy 1-Holland 0)



Photo From: World Soccer, February 1990
(Giuseppe Bergomi, November 16, 1988, Italy 1-Holland 0)




Preparatory Friendly match Number 3-Scotland (December 22, 1988, Perugia)

Italy’s last friendly of 1988 was at Perugia vs. Scotland. Vicini maintained his settled defensive formation (along with another substitute appearance by Ferrara). He experimented in midfield, as Donadoni, De Napoli and Ancelotti were unavailable with Giannini as his only regular starting. Nicola Berti earned a second start, while Giancarlo Marocchi (Juventus) and Massimo Crippa (Napoli) earned their debuts. The pair would also struggle to make a lasting impact in the National Team and would generally remain as alternates.
Vialli naturally started upfront, but once again Vicni would try out a new partner for him upfront. Inter’s Aldo Serena (on his way to be Capocannoniere) earned a well deserved recall to the National Team. At this point Mancini’s starting prospects seemed bleak and he had to contend as a non-playing substitute for this match, along with Baggio.
Napoli’s Luca Fusi earned a recall as well, but he would also struggle to make a lasting impression and settle for minutes here and there.
Giovanni Francini earned a call-up for the last time, as he would be out of contention and no longer under consideration.
Italy would win comfortably against a non-threatening Scottish side. Giannini would once again score from the spot. Berti, thus far, the only successful newcomer would increase his prospects by scoring for the first time for the National side.

Date: December 22, 1988
Competition: Friendly
Venue: Perugia -Stadio Renato Curi
Attendance: 27,600
Italy 2-Scotland 0 (Giuseppe Giannini 48 pen, Nicola Berti 70)
Italy:  Walter Zenga (Stefano Tacconi 50), Giuseppe Bergomi (captain) (Ciro Ferrara 50), Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Riccardo Ferri, Giancarlo Marocchi, Massimo Crippa, Nicola Berti, Gianluca Vialli, Giuseppe Giannini, Aldo Serena  
Note:
1-In bold, new caps.



Photo From: France Football, Issue 2229, December 27, 1988
(Franco Baresi, December 22, 1988, Italy 2-Scotland 0)




Photo From: (Screen capture)
(December 22, 1988, Italy 2-Scotland 0)