By FRANCO PANIZO
A little over a week separates Italy from the start of their Euro 2012 campaign, and it appears the Azzurri have a lot to work on before then.
Italy suffered a surprising 3-0 defeat to Russia in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday in a friendly that extended the Italians' scoreless streak to 300 minutes. All three of Russia's goal came in the second half, with Roman Shirokov grabbing a brace after Alexander Kerzhakov knocked in the winner at the hour-mark.
The Azzurri fielded a strong lineup that included Mario Balotelli, Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Pirlo, but they were still unable to pick up their first win of 2012.
Italy begins its Euro 2012 campaign with a Group C match against Spain on June 10. Russia, meanwhile, takes on Group A opponent Czech Republic in the second match of opening day on June 8.
Here are more results from Friday's international fixtures:
AUSTRIA TOPS EURO CO-HOST UKRAINE ON LATE ARNAUTOVIC GOAL
Marko Arnautovic scored the second of his two goals late to give Austria a 3-2 victory over Euro 2012 Co-Host Ukraine. Austria opened the scoring in the third minute through a finish from Junuzovic Zlatko, but Oleg Gusev equalized in the second half with the first of his two goals. Arnautovic then put Austria back in front in the 62nd minute before Gusev equalized again for Ukraine three minutes later. There was no third equalizer, however, as Arnautovic knocked in the winner in a minute before the death.
HUNGARY SURPRISES CZECH REPUBLIC
Czech Republic finished their preparations for Euro 2012 in a losing manner, suffering a surprising 2-1 loss to Hungary. Balaz Dzsudzsak scored an early opener for Hungary off a free kick before Czech Republic pulled level on a penalty kick from Michal Kadlec. But just before the game ended in a draw, Adam Gyurcso, who came off the bench late for Hungary, knocked in the winner in the 88th minute.
LATVIA CRUISES BY LITHUANIA
Four different players found the back of the net for Latvia, as they cruised to a 5-0 win against Lithuania in the Baltic Cup. Aleksandrs Cauna converted a penalty kick early before Edgars Gauracs added a second in the 17th minute. Aleksejs Visnakovs scored before halftime, while Gauracs scored his second of the day in the second half. Vitalijs Smirnovs capped the scoring.
KUQI LEADS FINLAN TO WIN OVER ESTONIA
Finland was victoris in the Baltic Cup, riding a pair of early goals from Njazi Kuqi to a 2-1 win over Estonia. Kuqi scored both his goals in the opening 22 minutes of the match before Estonia only pulled one back through a strike from Andres Oper. New York Red Bulls midfielder Joel Lindpere did not play for Estonia.
What do you think of these results? Think Italy is in store for a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign? How surprised are you by Hungary's defeat of Czech Republic?
Share your thoughts below.