Mexico secure 2-1 win over rusty Italy

New Mexico: Mexico beat World Cup holders Italy 2-1 in a warm-up match as both teams continued their preparations for this month`s tournament in South Africa.

The world champions, whose previous match was a 0-0 draw with Cameroon in March, started brightly with Vincenzo Iaquinta heading against the bar in the third minute, but the harrying Mexicans then took over with far neater play.

The lively Giovani Dos Santos found Carlos Vela unmarked in the Italian penalty area and the Mexican striker comfortably scored in the 16th minute.

Veteran Cuauhtemoc Blanco chipped over the Italian defence for Alberto Medina to settle the match in the 83rd minute.

Substitute Leonardo Bonucci pulled one back for Italy in a goalmouth scramble three minutes from time.

"We`ve been in the mountains (at an altitude training camp) for 10 days and we just came down today," Italy coach Marcello Lippi told reporters, explaining his side`s lacklustre showing.

"I know these players very well, I`m not sad at all. It`s important to be in the right condition in 10 days or so."

Mexico, who lost to England and the Netherlands in warm-up matches last week before thrashing Gambia 5-1, will play the opening match of the World Cup in Group A against hosts South Africa next Friday.

Italy, who take on Switzerland in their final friendly on Saturday, start their Group F campaign against Paraguay on June 14.

Bureau Report

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