It took a little Italian magic to prevent another big haul for the Team India machine at the 37th annual Nations Cup. The three-day tournament, that determines cultural and ethnic bragging rights on the soccer pitch, produced a classic Open Division final as Italy scored a “golden goal” in extra time for a 3-2 victory over defending champion India. The highly entertaining affair not only prevented India from winning its third Open title in four years. The Italians overcame plenty of adversity to capture their first Open title since 2007.
“They came into this year’s tournament under different leadership and sometimes when that happens you are little concerned when you have been dealing with the same people for a long time,” said Nations Cup president Jeff Wilson. “But give them credit. They were very well organized and certainly knew what they were doing putting this team together. “The quality of soccer for the final was outstanding, especially when you consider those teams were playing their third game of the day”. Quote and article from the Richmond News Article.
The Italian Canadian Sports Federation (I.C.S.F.) awarded the team`s coaching position to Tino Cucca and Steve DeBlasio. They then appointed Rob Mascitti as the assistant coach and Joe Papa the team manager. This dedicated group managed to assemble a good mix of young and experienced players that were fully committed to the challenge and wanted nothing less than winning the tournament for the Italian Canadian Soccer Community of the Lower Mainland.
How they advanced:
First game of the group stage Italy beat Serbia 1 – 0
Second game, Italy beat Germany 4 – 0
Third game, Italy & Scotland ended in a 0 – 0 tie.
Italy won the group and advanced to the Semifinals vs Ireland which Italy won 2 – 1
Final Game Italy 3 India 2 in overtime!
India quickly took a 1 – 0 lead and Italy`s Carlo Basso managed to tie it up with a brilliant goal.
Within minutes India again took the lead, and with ten minutes remaining in the match Tino Cucca made the decision to substitute himself into the game. A beautiful chip ball by Stefano Bortolussi to Carlo Basso who flicked the ball to a streaking Tino Cucca who managed to hold off the defender and chip over the oncoming keeper to tie the game at 2 – 2 in regulation time.
The Italians started the overtime with all the momentum as it didn`t take long for them to score the game winning goal on a brilliant individual effort by Carlo Basso to cut the ball back to Captain Alex Marrello who slotted the ball into the corner of the net and the celebrations began!
On behalf of the Italian Canadian Community I would like to thank the I.C.S.F. for sponsoring team Italia and congratulate all the players that participated in the tournament. A special thank you to all the supporters, family members, and friends that came out to the tournament to cheers on the team!
Tournament MVP: Carlo Basso
Top Goal Scorer: Carlo Basso
Top Defender: Jonathan Poli
Co-Coach – Tino Cucca & Steve DeBlasio Assistant Coach – Rob Mascitti Manager – Joe Papa
Players: Dillan Foglito, Marc Mincieli, Stefano Bortolussi, Jonathan Poli, Giordano Baldonero, Anthony Dinicolo, Matteo Polisi, Steve Kindel, Mike D`Agostino, Carlo Basso, Jessy Fetterley, Alex Lazazzera, Andre Pietramala, Alex Marrello (Captain), Vito Iacobellis, Adriano Negri, Luigi Polisi, Steve DeBlasio, and Tino Cucca.
Article written by Frank Cucca