Everton play Juventus in the early hours of Thursday morning in our opening game of the International Champions Cup. The match against the super power of European football is the first ever meeting between the teams and brings together the two sides who would have met in the 1985 European Super Cup Final if it wasn’t for the horrific events in Hysel earlier that year.
The fixture is one of the most prestigious pre-season fixtures in the history of the club and Roberto Martinez and his players will relish the opportunity to play against such high quality opposition. The game represents a step up in quality for the Blues and will be a clear indicator of how well the squad have adopted to the new management teams philosophy.
The game in San Francisco will take place at AT&T Park the home of the legendary baseball team and current World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants. The venue is a purpose built baseball stadium but will be transformed to host the Toffees vs the Bianconeri, also known as the Old Lady of Italian Football. The game is scheduled to kick off at 8pm local time on the Wednesday evening, which is 4am Thursday in the UK and will certainly tempt a number of Blues into an early morning wake-up call. The successful side will go on to play the winners of the Real Madrid – LA Galaxy tie that takes place the following evening, with the two losers also matching up against each other.
Juventus posses an incredibly talented squad and have brought a full strength team to face Everton. Gianluigi Buffon in goal is supported by a defence including Italian international Chiellini, a midfield led by Andrea Pirlo and a strike force featuring new summer signings Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente. It is a daunting prospect for Martinez’ men but one they should relish. Everton are packed full of international players and if they harbour genuine aspirations of Champions League football they need to demonstrate that they are not overawed by such fixtures.
It remains to be seen how Martinez will utilise his squad during the tournament, mixing the need to progress the fitness of his players with the aspiration to do well in the competition. With 24 players making the journey, Martinez will be keen to give most of the squad some playing time and will be forced to rotate his players as they continue to build their stamina ahead of the new Premier League campaign. The players will be grateful for the current weather in America, with the playing conditions very similar to the UK at present.
Available Squad: Joel, Howard, Springthorpe; Hibbert, Coleman, Baines, Oviedo, Jagielka, Distin, Heitinga, Duffy, Stones; Gibson, Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar, Barkley, Mirallas, Naismith, Deulofeu; Jelavic, Kone, Anichebe, Vellios.