SYDNEY: Max Vieri, the younger brother of Italy striker Christian Vieri, made his international debut for Australia against Turkey on Friday, giving the siblings a rare place in football history.
Striker Vieri was not in the starting line-up for the friendly, which Australia lost 3-1, but got his chance at half-time when he replaced Scott Chipperfield.
The 25-year-old plays for Italian Serie B club Napoli but was born in Australia and qualifies for the Socceroos because of his dual Italian-Australian citizenship.
While he has lived in the shadow of Inter Milan striker Christian, who has scored 22 goals for Italy in 39 matches, his appearance in Australia’s colours saw the pair join a small band of brothers to appear for different countries.
Dave Hollins of Newcastle United made 11 appearances for Wales between 1962 and 1966, while his brother John, who played for Chelsea, Arsenal and QPR, played once for England while at Chelsea in 1967.
Forward Gerry Hitchens made seven appearances for England during spells with Aston Villa and Inter Milan in 1961 and 1962, while his brother Joe played for the United States.
Vieri had initially harboured hopes of playing alongside his brother for Italy, but now says he would like to play against him.
“I’m happy to be (Christian’s) brother. He is one of the best strikers in the world,” he told reporters. “Now I would just like to play against him in a World Cup for Australia – I think that would be a beautiful thing.”
Vieri was born while his father Roberto was playing and coaching in Sydney. He was initially called up for a friendly against South Africa in London in March but did not get a run.
He only managed a handful of touches on Friday but coach Frank Farina said he had introduced him to add some spark to the attack and was impressed by what he saw.
“When Max came on I thought we had a lot more go forward,” Farina said. “Things started to work for us a little better.”
Australia were 1-0 down at the break after Umit Ozat scored in the 41st minute goal from a free-kick, but equalised through a Marco Bresciano penalty three minutes after the re-start.
Hakan Sukur then scored twice in seven minutes to give Turkey the 3-1 win. – Reuters