Now that we've gotten the whole "OMG IT'S ANTONIO CONTE'S FIRST GAME IS ITALY COACH!" out of the way, we can concentrate on a few other things. One of those things just so happens to be Italy qualifying for the Euros in 2016 which will be held in the land of Paul Pogba. That same thing just so happens to be happening tonight.
Italy vs. Norway isn't a glamorous encounter, but it's the first meaningful game that is happening under Conte. It's not the headline-grabbing meeting that Italy vs. Holland — regardless of it being a friendly or not — probably is. But this is the first step in the qualification process that will continue to dominate the boring international breaks for months on end.
And even though most of us don't like it, it comes with Conte leading the Azzurri. (Still getting used to that, by the way.)
#EuropeanQualifiers:#NorwayItaly tonight at 20:45 CEST. #Conte's comments: http://t.co/epMDuI1Hnd pic.twitter.com/xYB9A581Cq— Italy (@azzurri) September 9, 2014
If you also find it funny that there's a picture of Conte having a quizzical look on his face, you're not alone. And if you feel like admiring Simone Zaza's beard from afar, pull up a chair and watch Antonio Conte scream his head off like he always does. Kickoff between Italy and Norway is scheduled to begin in less than an hour.
Lineups for both Italy and Norway will be posted RIGHT HERE when they become available. Anybody want to suggest how Conte is dealing with not having a certain "Padoin, Simone" to go to when the times get adverse. At least there's little old Giaccherini to ease the pain. But there's nobody like Padoin. NOBODY.
!Italy: Buffon; Ranocchia, Bonucci, Astori; Darmian, De Rossi, Giaccherini, Florenzi, De Sciglio; Zaza, Immobile
Italy bench: Sirigu, Perin, Ogbonna, Candreva, Maggio, Pasqual, Verratti, Poli, Parolo, Destro, El Shaarawy, Giovinco, Quagliarella
Norway: Nyland; Elabdellaoui, Nordtveit, Forren, Flo; Skjelbred, Johansen, Jenssen; King, Nielsen, Daehli
Norway bench: Jarstein, Hansen, Tettey, Kamara, T Elyounoussi, Semb Berge, Pedersen, Konradsen, Danielsen, Samuelsen, Hagen
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