Inter Primavera to face Empoli in last 16

MILAN – Inter have been drawn against Empoli in the first knockout of the Campionato Primavera – Trofeo Giacinto Facchetti national finals. Fulvio Pea’s Nerazzurri play away to the Tuscan outfit at the Centro Sportivo Monteboro in Empoli on Saturday 8 May, with the return leg at the Centro Sportivo Giacinto Facchetti on Thursday 13 May.

"Every team is the same at this stage, we got Empoli and it’s fine like this," commented Pea. "Now we still start to study our opponents and understand their strengths and weaknesses. But the teams that reach the final phase are always the best, and they are more or less the same teams every year.

"We have six days to prepare for the game and we know we are in form so we will give our all. Playing the first leg away and the return leg at home changes nothing. It’s still 180 minutes."

Last 16 draw in full:
Atalanta v Sampdoria
Bari v Genoa
Brescia v Juventus
Catania v AC Milan
Chevo Verona v Roma
Empoli v Inter
Parma v Lazio
Udinese v Palermo

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Mourinho: "I demand respect for Inter"

ROME – Whatever Inter end up with at the end of the season, 2009/10 will be a campaign to remember for José Mourinho. "Winning zero titles is neither a drama nor a shame, for us or anyone else," said the Inter coach in his Tim Cup final press conference. "What’s important is that you have worked your best. The difference between winning and not winning is small. We have arrived in the final of the Coppa Italia, the final of the Champions League and we’re in the race for the Scudetto until the last game, so I don’t ask for respect, I demand it. If we have arrived at this stage we don’t deserve respect, but we demand it. The woman (Roma president Rosella Sensi) might be a president, might be a graduate, might have been born in a golden cradle, but she should give us respect. If we win three titles, it’s historic. If we win two, it’s positive. If we win nothing, there’s no shame. Italian football, with the irony of destiny,  will hope Inter wins in Madrid so it doesn’t lose a team in the Champions League."

Inter return to the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow night after their weekend victory over Lazio. "Last Sunday we played with almost the same team that played against Barcelona," said Mourinho. "We took a risk with Sneijder and he won’t play tomorrow. And we have lost Lucio as well. We took risks and played our best team. We’re not saving players for the final in Madrid. We have games against Chievo and Siena, they are all important games. I have won five league titles and I have never won with difficulty. I have always said that I want the pressure of playing until the last game for the title because it’s much better than winning with a lead of 20 points with five games left until the end.

"Sunday at Lazio was a difficult day for me. I knew that I had to win, that I would lose the Scudetto if I didn’t. We played in Barcelona and we came to Rome with question marks about several players and I had to prepare a team to play a difficult game. It was a day of pressure for me. If there are two sets of fans who are friends, it’s fine. This happens all over the world. This is football. If there’s a problem between fans it’s not a problem of mine. My players played with the extra pressure of playing every three days: Lazio, the cup final, then Chievo, without stopping. We have played a minimum of ten games more than all the others. It makes me laugh when I hear certain things, because the ex-Inter players always play the games of their lives against us.

"The absence of Sneijder? Inter can play with different systems. We can even change formation, but Stankovic can play in his position. There are no dramas."

The Nerazzurri have a chance to banish the ghost of the fifth of May with a victory over Roma in the cup final, but Mourinho knows it won’t be an easy game. "The quality of Roma’s players will make the difference. Two years ago they were in the championship race until the end and they did well in the Champions League. Last year they didn’t do very well but they played quality football against us. And this year, with their experience and quality, it was clear from the start of the season that they would be a rival. They were quite far behind in the league at the start but it was logical that they would be among the top four teams. Then they improved and took advantage of a period that made me stop doing press conferences, and I think we all know why I stopped going to press conferences…

"It has been a nice season for them. They’re in the final of the Coppa Italia and they are fortunate to play it at home in their stadium. In the Europa League, which is not a hard competition to win when you look at the finalists, Roma had a game against Panathinaikos. That was negative but apart from that it has been a good season for them.

"The fifth of May? I remember the fifth of May for one thing: the death of Napoleon Bonaparte. Tomorrow is a match between the two strongest teams in Italy. Me and my players only want to win, nothing else. I hope it’s a great match for us and for the Inter fans, who are living a unique moment. The Interisti want to be happy tomorrow and they want to show their support. They are only here to be happy and they will come here with one objective: to win. If we don’t, we come home with no problems. The world won’t end if we lose.

"When I came to Italy, I received a message that said the Coppa Italia wasn’t important, that it is played with players who don’t play in the league. I played my first Coppa game with important players. I think I have changed the mentality of the Coppa Italia. We have always respected this competition and we have always played important teams to get to the final. In Portugal, France and England they play on neutral grounds. Here, it’s in Rome, but we’re not making a drama of this."

If Mourinho does the treble, will he consider himself the greatest manager in the world? "No. I have won three titles in the same season before, so it would be the second time," he responded. "I don’t consider myself the best, but one who gives his best and goes home after every game and sleeps well, because I always give my best." And when asked if will remain at Inter at 100%, the Portuguese replied: "No. In football you can’t say anything."

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Zanetti: "Focused on our objectives"

ROME – Javier Zanetti followed Mourinho into the Stadio Olimpico’s press room for part two of Inter’s Tim Cup final press briefing. "We came to Rome to play our game and win against Lazio," said the Inter captain. "We won and we’re top of the table. And then we stayed in Rome for the Coppa Italia final. All the rest doesn’t interest us. We have always behaved like professionals and acted in good faith. We’re just focused on our objectives."

From winning nothing to winning a lot. What has changed at Inter? "We have had great continuity since we started winning," explained Zanetti. "We have a coach who has created a great group and the results have come. It’s incredible to be at the top for so long. The coach always prepares for matches in the best way and gives us all the information we need. He has been doing an excellent job since he arrived. Are we worried he will leave? The team has to finish the season in the best way and then we hope he will stay. These are personal decisions, so we will see."

When asked if tomorrow’s cup final against Roma is a chance to forget about 5 May 2002, Zanetti replied: "Let’s hope so. Unfortunately there was that date, but we really want to win tomorrow because we want to win all four of these finals that remain."

Inter face Siena on the last day of the season and according to journalists their players will be given a bonus if they defeat the Nerazzurri. "This doesn’t interest me, you’ll have to ask their president," said Zanetti. "We will think about Chievo first and then we will go to Siena. I hope it’s the pitch that decides which team is the strongest."

Is this season Zanetti’s best ever? "It’s a unique season for me, because reaching this level at my age and my first Champions League final is a dream," he said. "Let’s hope we can win it. It would be very important for me to lift this trophy as captain of Inter."

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We’re clean!

Finally! Investigators dismantled Calciopoli 2: “And ‘Moggi guilty!”

A sensational turning point in the process of Italian football. Investigators, after hearing the buzz on Tuesday where someone had pointed out that Inter have started to shake, ensure that the adversarial system remains firmly in place. Indeed, to give an account of rumors that leaked in the sphere of power of attorney, the prosecution claims to have received from that audience even just a few points in favor. First, the new tapping transcribed by the consultants of Luciano Moggi and his defense has requested the file, according to the judges in the process do not introduce new elements that reduce the involvement of the former general director of Juventus, altrochè.

But, and here is the boiling point, even where the interception Facchetti, Spalletti and talk with other designators introduce key elements Moggi, since there is confirmation of the thesis of “so do all”, that contacts with the world arbitration by the leaders of society were a widespread phenomenon and not exclusive to Moggi. The prosecutor stressed that the point is not that. The calls have emerged in recent days are not like those of Moggi which tended to distort the results: it is one thing talking on the phone, another illegal agreements (which is the main accused in the alleged charges against them). The 75 interceptions by the defense indicated Moggi – and that certainly will be acquired at the next hearing on April 20 – that is not “anything moving”, so the prosecutor explained heat Giuseppe Narducci.

Then, to the delight of all the Inter fans who first FcInterNews of us had reported the scandal, prosecutors have examined over every interception, considered irrelevant, even the famous phone call ‘mother’ of any interception, that between Facchetti Bergamo and the name of Hill, and would have assured the magistrates, who in turn believe that they have acquired a known: it is not the then manager Giacinto Facchetti, on the eve of the meeting with Juventus, to make Hill name during the conversation with the designator Paolo Bergamo. So would the former Inter president, who died in 2006, suggesting to Bergamo to enter the name of the arbitrator in the grid (“put in Hill …”, the phrase was attributed to the consultants Facchetti Moggi). But the great news is another step: the process of Tuesday, Luciano Moggi for the first time acknowledged, albeit implicitly, possession of SIM cards for foreign conversations confidential. This would come to light from the same questions the defense of former Juventus director general when, during the colonel of the carabinieri controesame Attilio Auricchio, it was noted that he used Moggi caution but in order to talk confidentially to the football operations.

Therefore after the prosecutor asked the detective whether, as well as nominators and referees, but market participants appear to have used sim cards identified during the investigation. The officer had responded negatively. For public prosecutors, the fact is a matter of absolute importance, as Moggi has never admissions in relation to the issue of foreign sim. Prosecutors Giuseppe Narducci and Stephen Campbell meanwhile are at work in preparation for the next hearing. Not mutually exclusive, according to rumors, new initiatives by the investigators. The dust is therefore intended to dismantle.

Candidates for the World Cup Title

There will be 32 teams competing for a world title; however, two months before the FIFA World Cup starts, the favorites make a noticeable difference and excel in all World Cup 2010 betting predictions.

Germany: In a group with a lack of experience and world titles, Germany, with three World Cup titles, enters as the favorite in Group D. With rivals such as Australia, Serbia, and Ghana, the Germans have the advantage of experience to move forward and fight for the title.

Argentina: Although this team did not leave a good impression over the qualifying campaign, with six defeats and four draws, the “albiceleste” has established itself as one of the favorites to win the World Cup. (bunch of Inter players)

Despite a narrow classification, the Argentines have two world titles and have Lionel Messi, one of the world’s best players nowadays. Argentina’s national team also has a large number of world-class players that could lead the “albiceleste” to win the title.

England: Group C will open with the match between England and the United States in what I consider to be the hardest battle for the English team before facing Slovenia and Algeria.

As the favorite from Group C, the English will take advantage of their team’s trajectory and of their great players full of talent. I think that with a good coach like Fabio Capello, England’s luck in world championships could be improved.

Brazil: With big rivals such as Portugal and Ivory Coast, Dunga’s team will fight for its sixth World Cup. The “Seleção” world cup’s history has made them a favorite in every World Cup played since 1930, and this time is no exception. Brazil’s team is the second favorite to win the World Cup South Africa 2010. (Julio Cesar, Lucio, Maicon)

Spain: Without any world championship titles, the Spanish team is favored to win the World Cup. With ten wins in ten matches during the qualifying process, “La Roja” has had an excellent campaign and this seems to be a great opportunity for Spain to qualify in the 1st phase in the tournament and reach a place in the final.