DORTMUND, Germany – After scoring his first international goal in 1½ years to give Italy a 1-1 exhibition tie against Germany on Wednesday night, Giuseppe Rossi said the goal was for his dad, Fernando Rossi.
"I dedicate it to my father, who died last year," Rossi told Raisport.
Rossi replaced Antonio Cassano at the start of the second half and scored in the 81st minute. He turned away from Per Mertesacker to knock the ball past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on the second attempt.
Fernando Rossi, who in 23 seasons built the soccer team from New Jersey's Clifton High School into an area power, died last Feb. 23 at age 60.
It was the fourth goal in 19 international appearances for the 24-year-old Rossi, who was born in Teaneck and chose to play for the Azzurri rather than the United States. He scored his first international goal against Northern Ireland in an exhibition on June 6, 2009, then had two goals against the Americans nine days later at the FIFA Confederations Cup.
While Rossi was on Italy's 30-man preliminary World Cup roster last year, he was cut when it was trimmed to 23. He has 20 goals this season for Villarreal, including 12 in the Spanish league.
"A draw is good away from home. We have to continue like that," Rossi said. "We felt we could even win the game because we were playing well, the team was running and fighting for the second goal which didn't arrive unfortunately. But I repeat, it's a great draw against a great team on a difficult pitch."
Miroslav Klose scored for Germany from close range in the 17th minute, beating goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who made his first appearance for Italy since injuring his back during last year's World Cup. Mesut Oezil's backheel released Thomas Mueller, who crossed for Bayern Munich teammate.
"We can be happy with the result but we know we can do better," Klose said.
At the same stadium where Italy beat Germany in the 2006 World Cup semifinals, the Germans were seeking their first win over the Azzurri since 1995.
"It was an entertaining game, also from the Italians," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "We couldn't sustain the tempo we had at the beginning over 90 minutes. In the second half we erred a bit in trying so hard to make it 2-0."