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Mexico dent Italy's case for defence

Italy 1-2 Mexico
Marcello Lippi's side lost in Brussels in their penultimate friendly before beginning their FIFA World Cup defence in South Africa.

Angelo Palombo, Claudio Marchisio & Domenico Criscito despair at defeat by Mexico
Angelo Palombo, Claudio Marchisio & Domenico Criscito despair at defeat by Mexico ©Getty Images

Italy 1-2 Mexico
The defending champions were defeated at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels in their penultimate friendly ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

Italy struggled throughout against their fellow hopefuls for this year's tournament in South Africa. Mexico prevailed courtesy of an 17th-minute goal from Carlos Vela and a late strike from Alberto Medina, Leonardo Bonucci's effort scant consolation for Italy.

It could have been a different story for Marcello Lippi's side, though, Vincenzo Iaquinta striking the bar with a powerful header after just three minutes. Mexico capitalised on that slice of luck to take the lead 14 minutes later when Arsenal FC forward Vela met Giovani dos Santos's cross with a fine first-time volley.

Carlos Salcido twice went close to doubling Mexico's advantage with powerful efforts from range and Italy were again on the back foot after half-time, Pablo Barrera and Javier Hernández both squandering fine chances to give Mexico breathing space.

Their second finally arrived when Medina fired in from close range with six minutes left, though Italy salvaged a late consolation courtesy of AS Bari defender Bonucci's first international goal.

"I'm not surprised because the players had tired legs today," Lippi said. "I know them well and they are much better than this." Italy face Switzerland on Saturday in their last friendly before travelling to South Africa where they will make their Group F debut against Paraguay on 14 June.