Mexico displayed a fast and entertaining game as they beat world champions Italy 2-1 on Thursday a week ahead of their 2010 WC debut.
Carlos Vela and Alberto Medina were on target in a convincing dress rehearsal for the Mexicans, due to tackle hosts South Africa June 11 in Johannesburg in the opening game of the tournament.
Italy have plenty of room for improvement as their brisk start lasted only for a few minutes and produced a bar hit by Vincenzo Iaquinta as he nodded from close range.
A wide low shot from Gerardo Torrado on nine minutes signalled Mexico's switch of gears, which gave them control of the game. Vela's goal in the 17th minute exposed the sluggishness of Italy's defence, with only Fabio Cannavaro spurting ahead to trigger the offside trap as Giovani dos Santos fed the striker in the area.
Buffon almost managed a deflection and later had to thank a last-gasp tackle from Domenico Criscito to block a dangerous effort from Javier Hernandez.
Commentators noted that it was hard to find encouraging signs with 10 days left to the World Cup debut.
“We come from 10 days (of training) in the mountains,” Italy's coach Marcello Lippi said. “Today we came down to play against a team who have played seven games (lately).
“I know my players. They told me that they feel their legs heavy. It will be important to recover for the hard work in the next days. Had we played more than trained, we would have done better.”
The debut of the reigning champions at the World Cup is set for June 14 against Paraguay before Group F games with New Zealand and Slovakia on June 20 and 24.