Juventus take on Sevilla tonight in their opening match of the Peace Cup. What in Mother Teresa's name is the Peace Cup you ask? Well, twelve teams are divided into four groups of three teams. Each team plays one match against each other in the group stage, the first place in each group will qualify to the semi-finals and the winners will advance to the finals. Did I mention the tournament champions receive 2,000,000 Euros? Maybe we can keep Poulsen after all.
Either way, the runners-up receive 1,000,000 Euros, while third and fourth place teams each bag half that. Financials aside, the 2009 Coppa di Pace will include the likes of:
Ecuador- LDU Quito
England- Aston Villa
Saudi Arabia- Al-Ittihad
South Korea- Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma
Spain- Málaga, Sevilla, Real Madrid
Joining Juventus and Sevilla in Group A is the South Korean side Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, who we'll play in four days time. However before then, we find ourselves pitted against our toughest opponent yet this pre-season.
On our end, you could say we're successfully maximizing our pre-season time to work out the kinks. As the lads are getting back into shape, they're doing their best to adapt to a/many new formation(s) that will unavoidably take some time to learn. Coupled with the late international arrivals to Pinzolo, Juventus will try their best to win their group underneath the over-arching aim of match fitness preparation.
"It will be a useful test to evaluate the team's conditions. The internationals joined a short while ago and yesterday three important players, Legrottaglie, Giovinco and Melo, joined the team. Melo must work to get back into shape, seeing that he finished with the Confederations Cup rather late. Expectations in his regard are very high just like the ones for Diego and Cannavaro but I expect more from all at Juventus".
"The first year in black and white can be tough and therefore it is my intention not to put too much responsibility on the new signings. I am not referring to Cannavaro who know the environment well but definitely to Diego and Melo. Diego will today begin working with the ball. We do not ant to rush things and him playing will depend on how far we go in the tournament and therefore we hope to advance and be able to utilize him". - Ciro Ferrara
So unfortunately no Diego or Melo yet. However it's good to know our investments are being looked after appropriately. In other news, Poulsen now seems almost certain to leave this year after he was weirdly left behind in Turin for the Peace Cup. He's obviously healthy, in fact one of our fittest according to reports from Pinzolo, so it seems Juventus want to keep him that way to lure or satisfy some potential suitors.
For more news about our Spanish opponents other than the absence of Luis Fabiano and Kanoute, Anthony over at the Sevilla Offside wrote something up about his side before this game. In which, I'm happy to say, he notes his side is playing a little "crippled" just like us these days. Well then may the least impaired side win!
IERI... OGGI... DOMANI... SEMPRE JUVE!!!