They've met the Pope. Now they're about to play some football.
Hey, it could be a lot, lot worse when you think about it.
Italy vs. Argentina in "normal" sense would have a lot more hype surrounding it. At least that's the logical way of thinking. The history the two countries have, the roster of world-class player after world-class player both countries have produced, everything they've accomplished. It's one prestigious country facing another.
But on this Wednesday night in Rome, everybody's thinking the same thing: Nobody get hurt. That's just the circumstances — not just for Juventus-based players — with the start of the club season just a week and a half away from now. I mean, getting ready for the Serie A season is what matters at this time of the year, right?
Here is Italy's roster, just in case you forgot:
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon, Federico Marchetti, Salvatore Sirigu
Defenders: Luca Antonelli, Davide Astori, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Lorenzo De Silvestri, Christian Maggio, Andrea Ranocchia
Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani, Antonio Candreva, Alessio Cerci, Daniele De Rossi, Alessandro Diamanti, Alessandro Florenzi, Emanuele Giaccherini, Claudio Marchisio, Riccardo Montolivo, Andrea Pirlo, Marco Verratti
Strikers: Stephan El Shaarawy, Alberto Gilardino, Lorenzo Insigne, Pablo Osvaldo
Now I know all of you are upset because not only is Sebastian Giovinco, but not able to continue to wear the No. 10 jersey like he has the past couple of times he's been in the Italy squad. I guess Marco Verratti gets his chance to wear the beloved number for one Wednesday in Rome. Maybe he's just keeping it warm for Giovinco. I mean, they probably wear the same shirt size...or something.
Okay, so maybe there's some sarcasm in that last paragraph, but sometimes when it comes to international friendlies that are missing some of the best players the country has to offer, a couple of funnies are needed. A guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.
Italy (4-3-2-1): Buffon; Maggio, De Rossi, Chiellini, Antonelli; Montolivo, Verratti, Marchisio; Candreva, Giaccherini; Osvaldo
Argentina (4-3-3): Andujar; Campagnaro, Fernandez, Garay, Basanta; Di Maria, Mascherano, Biglia; Lamela, Higuain, Palacio