BASEL, Switzerland - Italy, still smarting from their embarrassing Confederations Cup display in June, were foiled by goalkeeper Diego Benaglio in a 0-0 draw with Switzerland in Wednesday's friendly. Benaglio helped Ottmar Hitzfeld's team extend their unbeaten run to seven games while captain Fabio Cannavaro made a record-breaking 127th appearance for Italy, overtaking Paolo Maldini. The keeper made two excellent close-range saves in the 13th minute and, although the world champions scrambled the ball home at the third attempt, the goal was disallowed for a foul. Two minutes later Benaglio made another fine stop after debutant Claudio Marchisio was sent through by Giuseppe Rossi. In between, Alberto Gilardino chipped over the bar after another incisive pass by the lively Rossi as Italy, beaten by Brazil and Egypt two months ago in South Africa, took early control. Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was tested for the first time in the 24th minute when he tipped over Tranquillo Barnetta's shot. Both teams had chances in the second half, Barnetta wasting Switzerland's best effort when he failed to make proper contact with Blaise Nkufo's pass. Benaglio again did well to stop an angled effort by Vincenzo Iaquinta, who also shot wide after breaking free of the defence. The game petered out in the last 20 minutes after both teams made six substitutions.
12 August 2009
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