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Saturday September 8 2012
Predictable Italy

Azzurri fans may as well accept it, says Susy Campanale, they are never going to get a good performance in September.

Oh Italy, will you never shake off your summertime blues? Are we ever to see a performance in August or September that isn’t desperately disappointing, disconcertingly sluggish and half-hearted in its execution? Probably not, so let’s just accept that little quirk of the Azzurri experience and grab the point in Bulgaria.

In a way, this game saw all the Nazionale’s worst traits squeezed into a single game. Players put more energy into berating each other than actually trying to get the ball in the first place, tactical indecision was rife whether using 3-5-2 or the diamond midfield, chances were wasted in attack and Christian Maggio confirmed his complete inability to defend.

The ultimate problem remains the same as it is in every August or September outing: tempo. Serie A starts later than other Leagues and they have at most two games under their belts before beginning a qualifying campaign, but still that total lack of drive is inexcusable. What does Prandelli have to do in order to shake these players up? He tried picking younger figures who want to prove themselves like Sebastian Giovinco, Emanuele Giaccherini and Angelo Ogbonna, but even they struggled to get out of second gear in Sofia. Pablo Daniel Osvaldo scored a brace, though the second goal was via a massive deflection.

Prandelli also crammed his faults into this nutshell of a match. Once again, the Azzurri had to end the game with 10 men after Daniele De Rossi limped off with a thigh strain. Was the Euro 2012 Final not enough of a clue that you shouldn’t blow all your substitutions early? Italy were winning at the time when he made the changes, so considering the Bulgarians equalised moments after a switch from 3-5-2 to diamond system, Cesare might want to avoid excessive tinkering in future.

After all, the only benefit of being predictably poor in the summer is at least trying to learn from those recurring mistakes.

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Have your say...
I would like to see Prandelli revert back to his 4312. Verratti can play in the hole behind Insigne and Osvaldo/Destro. Verratti has everthing that you can want in a number 10-vision, composure, technical quality, and strength. I disagree with people when they say that Pirlo and Verratti cannot co-exist in the same team. Playing these two will take some of the creative burden off Pirlo, and make us less predicatble.
on the 8th September, 2012 at 1:52pm
I am so tired of this so called early season curse! We were terrible! The tactics, the lack of hunger, the passive nature of play, the lack opf cohesion, and then we have the players. Maggio has never shown his Napoli form for Italy. He has been terrible. Bonucci is a disater waiting to happen, he has a good long pass on him, but that is it. Giaccherini is a good player, but isn't a wing-back. Giovinco can be great, but has too many off days.
on the 8th September, 2012 at 1:48pm
Strummer I agree in some respects, but Gio and Osvaldo could be promising given a chance. Not so sure about the others but time will tell.
on the 8th September, 2012 at 1:44pm
I am glad to see Prandelli use younger players, as he is preparing for the World Cup and hopefully a future beyond. I am not surprised though to see Maggio struggle as he did, he is not capable of playing in this formation and neither is Giovinco. Although Italy played a 3-5-2 formation, it certainly wasn't the same 3-5-2 as Juve use. Osvaldo needed to help Giovinco get involved up front but he rarely did. I am still happy to see him score twice. Would have liked to see Cannavaro called up.
on the 8th September, 2012 at 1:39pm
Does anyone know where and how you can watch Italy Games in then UK ? This website needs a forum.
on the 8th September, 2012 at 12:42pm
There is a bigger issue here and that is Prandelli's choice of players. I am not sure players such as Ogbonna, Giaccherini, Osvaldo, and even Giovinco have proven themselves in Seria A to now be starters for the national team. Italy is in a tough division with Denmark , and the Czechs. Every point counts and Prandelli is pulling a 2010 Lippi with his player selections. To radicalize the team with new unproven players after making it to a tournament final is a total unnecessary gamble
on the 8th September, 2012 at 12:12pm
1) Giaccherini was one of the best performers last night. He troubled bulgaria's right side in the first half, and worked hard to help the defense in the second half.
2) I don't understand what prandelli was thinking last night. Changed tactic to 4-3-1-2 opened the flanks, and made italy too predictable. No players was able to operate on the flanks after giaccherini was out, so we used long balls.. so wasteful.
3) Prandelli should have seen how bad Maggio was, but why didn't he change him?
on the 8th September, 2012 at 10:49am

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