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Sunday June 23 2013
Not all bad with Brazil

Italy were defeated 4-2 by the Seleçao, but Susy Campanale saw plenty of positives in Salvador de Bahia.

If nothing else, at least this Confederations Cup campaign can silence those armchair pundits who still believe Catenaccio exists in Italian football. Conceding eight goals in three group games – and scoring just as many – is the antithesis of ‘go 1-0 up and shut up shop’ clichés. At times the Azzurri played football every bit as spectacular as the Seleçao, complete with Mario Balotelli’s scorpion back-heel flick to set up Emanuele Giaccherini’s goal. As always, what they lack is consistency, but there were flashes of something truly wonderful and they can build on that.

Perhaps Cesare Prandelli ought to surreptitiously move all the clocks so the team think a game is going to start an hour earlier. It might finally get the players to wake up some time before the 30th minute of a match. I’m so tired of seeing Italy start with what looks like a hangover, stumbling around at half-speed and passing the ball straight to their opponents. The side always picks up in the second half for a rousing performance, so the problem has to be psychological. I’ve never seen so many misplaced passes in such a short amount of time, so it was no wonder Italy couldn’t get out of their own half in those early stages. You could also blame Prandelli for these poor starts, as his initial tactical choices rarely prove correct and adjustments contribute to the team settling in during the game.

There were plenty of positives to enjoy in Salvador de Bahia. A team without Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi still managed to put Brazil under sustained pressure and a 3-3 draw would’ve been a more fitting result. Mattia De Sciglio is growing in confidence at his tender age and even Christian Maggio put in a half-decent performance as a right-back. Antonio Candreva and Giaccherini may not be glamorous figures, but they are very handy utility players when called upon. Was finding strength in depth and gaining international experience not the reason for playing in this warm-up tournament?

Much of the criticism from fans and media has been aimed at Gianluigi Buffon after these three Confederations Cup games. People are bandying around phrases like ‘he’s past it’ or ‘it’s time for a younger goalkeeper.’ I shan’t stand for it. Buffon remains the best goalie in Italy and any disappointment with recent performances is just a reflection of how much he has spoilt us over the years. We cannot always expect Gigi to come to the rescue with miraculous saves, so it’s about time the rest of the team step up and give him some protection. It’s true he has started parrying a few too many shots into danger zones, but I am confident he will watch these videos and work on that weakness in training. Let’s not start writing his career obituary yet!

There are good things in this 4-2 defeat to Brazil. Prandelli, his men and the fans must focus on the positive and build on promising foundations rather than get out the wrecking ball. 

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Have your say...
I would have rated this article higher if I thought Brazil were a top class team cos they are not. Not a patch on past Brazil sides and just cos its Brazil doesn't mean any result against them should be applauded.They are a level below Spain, Arg and Germany. I saw France totally outplay them but just couldn't score be4 losing 3-0.Japan looked like world beaters VS Italy were beaten by Mexico and had 0 pts. The 1st half was a non event for both teams and both teams have lots of work to do.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 2:23pm
My observation is that Brazil won that game by winning 'dubious' free kicks on the edge of the box. Unfortunately, the ref was a 'homer'and gave Brazil everything, whilst Brazil wrer quite cynical at times and escaped yellow cards. A weakened Azzurri side did well against against a first choice Brazil 11. They should be proud.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 2:19pm
First goal (just before break!):
The foul was totally needless. And then: a team of amateurs is able to define the penalty area as offside zone and stand on a line that is painted clearly white on the grass...
Second goal:
Conceding just after being back in the match is not the traditional Italian way, is it? Easy breakthrough for Marcelo...

Italy plays brave and entertaining, but they have to regain stability and cleverness. They won´t win a title always running after their own mistakes...
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 2:17pm
Prandelli has to quit stupidy.

For God sakes, play with three man defence. The Azzurri are conceding too much. Midfield can't help defence enough, not to mention the stupid full-backs.

Gigi
Barzagli-Bonucci-Chiellini
Rossi-Pirlo-Marchisio

and the rest doesn't concern me.

For those jerks who doubt Gigi, go play PS3. Gigi is still the best in the world, not just in Italy.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 1:49pm
Buffon did very well vs the CR, but this doesn't mean that we cannot call into question his past two performances. I certainly wouldn't drop him, but I would like to see a little more competition in this area. Contrary to what many think, i believe that we have a decent pool of goalkeeping talent. During the last WC, Buffon got injured, & Marchetti came in cold & had a bad time. It took him a long time to recover from this.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 1:48pm
Someone made a great point about Buffon and how he is not challenged very much at Juventus. Plus he definitely seems to be slowing down a bit. Marchetti's time has come. No doubt.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 1:21pm
Pirlo, De Rossi, Montolivo, Cigarini, Verratti that midfield has the potential to carve up any defense and out play any midfield it wants. man what support that would give to the attackers and relieve them of a lot of pressure put on there shoulders. Just to bad it's non existing all because of Prandelli's tactics and blindness to see what's wrong.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 12:56pm
Another problem is our depth the guys that come of the bench are just as important as the starters and that's something we don't have that all the strong teams do. look who brazil and Spain have coming over there benches all worthy of starting roles. They bench in 06 come on phenomenal. There is no one who can play better in the absences of Pirlo than Cigarini and its shameful he is not in this squad. Monty failed in that role and definitely not Aquilani and Verratti is too inexperienced.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 12:43pm
We don't have a midfield of the past!! In 2006 we had Pirlo, Totti, Del Piero... Now we have Monty and Aqua.... not in the same league. Monty proved that he cannot replace Pirlo.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 12:39pm
Everyone doubting Buffon needs to remember it was only 4 matches ago that Buffon single handily saved (pun intended) us from an embarrassing result against the Czech Republic..
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 12:33pm
The defense is a concern because the formation and the pace of the game. We will continue to concede a lot more goals if we keep playing this open attack minded style that Prandelli has instilled. It won't hurt us that bad against weaker teams but we won't out score the likes of Spain and brazil. Plus we don't have the pure goal scorers either. We need to dictate possession through the midfield and take off some pressure on the back line. Our pace and attack should all go through the center.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 12:21pm
some players have not stopped for 2 seasons in a row, and next year it will be 3 seasons with the World cup. Some of these players want to be on the beach relaxing.
Next year we will have a few players coming from U21. Verratti will bring some quality to midfield, i really don't like the way Aquilani plays. We missed De Rossi yesterday and the passing of Pirlo. Still think we should switch to a 3-5-2 system. And Brazil made so many tactical fouls, i was so surprised by this.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 12:16pm
I can't believe all this criticism leveled against Buffon,
This is the same guy that saved us in Prague a few weeks ago. We can't blame his age nor use his performances as an excuse for our poor defensive record. I would rather concentrate on the fact that our defenders need 3 or 4 attempts to clear a ball, and why is CP insisting on using 4 defenders when he should be testing formations with three in the back, i would have loved to see us play a 343 formation or 3412
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 12:12pm
Our best defensive performance under CP was against Spain last year in the group game. The reasons for this was the 352 system & De Rossi's outstanding defensive display in the sweeper role. His positioning, anticipation, & bravery at throwing his body around; blocking shots, crosses, & passes was a magnificent display of old school defending. It's these attributes that made Mourinho so desperate to sign him over the years.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 11:38am
Di Sciglio has had a mixed tournament. I still rate him highly, but I'd much rather see him on the right side-crossing with his natural foot. I remember the Milan vs Juve game of last season & he was fantastic, stopping Asamoah whilst also making good forward runs. No doubt he can still do a job at LB, but he has to work on his left foot & delivery. Also as he bulks up, he will get better defensively.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 11:29am
Michael, our defending has not been convincing for a long time, irrespective of friendly or competitive fixtures. Not only do we concede many goals, we also allow many shots on our goal. It is deluded to think that everything is fine in this department! To stick up for our defending by saying this is a friendly competition would be papering over the cracks. Yet another feeble excuse, one that can be filed alongside: 2nd game syndrome, biscotti, post/pre season fitness issues etc.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 11:19am
Oh it's all so exciting watching these high scoring games, especially for the neutrals. Moreover, can you believe Italy being part of all of this and finally dispelling their catenaccio label at long last! The brutal fact is that we really do not have the players or a manager to consistently apply a style of game that is Italy. Depending at want point in the game we decicide to show up will condition the result. This formula will win nothing! Lottery football, can't wait for wc 2014! Help!!
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 11:00am
I am afraid to say that age has very much caught up with Buffon. He is slower getting down to the ball and his reflexes aren't what they use to be. Sad to see a goalkeeping legend fading like this and Prandelli should show some bottle and hand the gloves to a younger keeper for the world cup.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 10:54am
This match showed that if Buffon didn't have a poor game and if we were at full strength, we could have given the Brazilians a better run for their money. Now we really need to use the 3-5-2. It suits Maggio and the Juventini the best and De Sciglio can focus on attack. He's too weak defensively.

Death to catenaccio! It made Italian teams weak and cowardly. It didn't progress calcio, it held it back. We must not destroy our attacking players anymore. Long live bel gioco!
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 10:32am
I think we need G Rossi dearly. He will provide the right support for Balo. I am in support with the shift to 3-5-2 and would confirm Buffon every day in the year.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 10:27am
Some of the comments made from some people must be from deluded minds. The confederation cup has always and will always be a friendly tournament. Italy have never really defended with full intensity in any friendly over the years. So what is the difference here. They will defend more stoutly when it matters next year
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 10:22am
Logically Italy find more space when opposition are in the lead so 2nd half was an improvement. We are hopeless under pressure at 0-0 or in lead, defense is badly organised & slow. Midfield ball retention is poor without a fit Pirlo which with age is less certain. Conceding 8 goals in 3 is a disaster for any top 20 national team, unacceptable! Positives are only the arrival of De Scligio & Giaccherini but that's about it. It will be a miracle if Spain don't thump us...again!
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 10:13am
Italy desired a draw last night, Neymar cleverly left he leg trailing for a that free kick that led to a goal. Buffon i just hope he had a bad and that defence need sorting out and its a real shame we lost Abate . Maggio played well i hope we do a play 3 5 2. I feel Balotell needs another striker with him. If we play like we di in the 2nd half i think we will. Like Brazil, Spain are not a fan when teams put them on pressure and make a lot of fouls
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 9:43am
There is no protection for Buffon, years ago Buffon only had to make 1 or 2 saves and that was it.

As for the midfield, they can't keep a hold of the ball At all and when they have the ball then there's no movement from other players which results in no creativity and in stead lost the ball.

As for the attack, we can't just rely on Balotelli to take on the defenders all by himself, there is no support at all.

I'm so disappoint! I hope we don't get humiliated by spain but I expect the worst.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 9:29am
To say that I'm disappointed is an understatement, I haven't seen the azurri beat Brazil since 94 USA and this is the worst Brazil side in decades and if we can't beat them now then we never will.

For the first time I have to admit that serie a is behind in terms of quality. It was really awful watching this match, possibly the worst Italy side I have seen for a long time.

The defence is non existant and doesn't compared to the likes of the days of Baresi, Maldini, Cannavaro, Nesta.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 9:24am
From my pov, the squad isnt deep enough for winning a competition like this. Also prandelli hasnt a winning formula since euro 2012. the tactics & formations varied almost in every game.
Side that should have an attention is the right back. How many times before abate subbed off, he couldnt taken neymar or marcelo very well.. Same with candreva. Differ with de sciglio, dani alves couldnt move easily bcause he well covered & backup from Marchisio.
Monto, i dont know what happened to him. His trademark play, wasnt rise that time. He played like that since day one. He should be benched, but once again because of lack of depth in squad and absencies like pirlo & ddr, he could make the starting again.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 9:15am
Me, Candreva has had his best ever season playing on the right for Lazio. His performance in the cup final highlighted this. Jack, Buffon has done well at Juve under Conte, because he has had so little to do. Juve defend well from top to bottom. When Juve did get tested, against Bayern, I thought that he struggled. In this tournament he has been very disappointing. His handling has been shocking-like he margarine on his gloves; his positioning poor; & he looks very heavy when he dives.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 9:05am
An awful first half: a lack of attacking ambition, poor ball retention, troublesome injuries, & we concede. 2nd half: the team shows character & play some good stuff, Marchisio & Aquilani play well & looked much more comfortable in a 4411, & Giaccherini continues to justify his inclusion. Buffon was woeful-don't let sentiment blind you! Lippi did this at the last WC & look what happened! Colander rather Catenaccio: the defence is a huge concern!
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 8:57am
Its good to score goals but the defending has been dreadful. Its no good scoring three and conceding four. Prandelli's style is right but the defenders and goalkeeper need to improve. Buffon has looked slow. Also the squad is not right. For me Aquilani, Diamanti, Cerci and a few others just not good enough. Balotelli has been fantastic and for those who criticise De Rossi last night proved Italy better with him.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 8:10am
I was determined not to be a moaning armchair fan this tournament and I managed to last to the third game. Like the Japan game The azzurri only lasted to play when they were two goals behind. The first half was so stop start with injuries. Good points GC came back to some. Whatever CP said to Mario at half time worked. Buffon can't perform that poor again but the defence must react to his saves if they know he will pushball out not hold. Spain next but we have to press higher up to stop Spain.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 7:17am

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