Giuseppe Rossi scores in return to Italy’s starting lineup
Everybody loves a good comeback story. Maybe even the American soccer fans who have finally gotten over Giuseppe Rossi’s decision to play for Italy.
After Rossi suffered two serious knee injuries in succession, the New Jersey native and Italian-American made his return to the Azzurri’s starting lineup after a two-plus-year hiatus and promptly did what he has been doing for Fiorentina this season with regularity: He scored.
Rossi combined with Mario Balotelli to score in the opening stages of Italy’s 2-2 draw with Nigeria in a friendly between two World Cup-bound teams at Craven Cottage in London. It was his first international goal since June 3, 2011, which came against Estonia in Euro 2012 qualification.
Rossi had appeared in one previous game with Italy this year, playing 17 minutes against Armenia on Oct. 15. Prior to that, his last Azzurri appearance — and start — was against Serbia on Oct. 7, 2011.
As if Rossi scoring wasn’t enough of a USA imprint on the match at the grounds where Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey became Fulham heroes, Toronto FC and Oklahoma-born Nigeria forward Bright Dike registered on a header, continuing his own comeback after tearing his ACL last winter.
Here’s video of Rossi’s goal:
And Dike’s response:
Two American comeback stories. In London. During a game featuring Italy and Nigeria. How about that?