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Friday October 11 2013
Predictable Italy in Copenhagen

It was pretty much as Susy Campanale expected against Denmark, as Italy showed positives, negatives and a familiar scoreline.

That was pretty much the performance we expected from an experimental Italy side in Copenhagen: a few spurts of creativity interrupting long periods of below par football with heart more than quality scraping a result. Let’s just breathe a sigh of relief and be thankful the Azzurri’s unbeaten record in World Cup qualifiers since 2004 remains intact.

At least we got to see what some players can do, both in positive and negative terms. Dani Osvaldo confirmed himself to be an effective striker when he’s not riding the crazy train, Thiago Motta is another alternative to Andrea Pirlo – though I’d prefer Marco Verratti – and Andrea Ranocchia is still a terrible defender. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities you give to the Inter centre-back, he’s just not going to deliver. So here’s hoping this latest test convinced Cesare Prandelli to scrub his name off the list of potential call-ups.

We were all so proud when Italy qualified with two games to spare, the first time in the country’s history this had been achieved for a World Cup. Looking at the other results now, it’s a less impressive feat. Whoever finishes second in Group B will likely miss out on the play-offs anyway, as all the other runners-up have amassed more points. Denmark, Armenia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic all took points off each other to make it inevitable Italy would break away at the top. It’s as if these teams got into a circle and invited each side to shoot the other in the foot.

Still, let’s focus on the positives from Copenhagen. Italy does have a lot of competition for places in attack and midfield, which could not be said a few years ago. Giuseppe Rossi is returning to fitness and I look forward to seeing what kind of partnership he can form with Mario Balotelli. Alessio Cerci is a useful figure to throw on in the second half when opponents are tired and at Torino this season has developed tactically to become more versatile.

I just hope Prandelli continues with the experiments against Armenia on Tuesday night. What we do not need to see is Pirlo starting in midfield. I don’t even know why he’s part of this group once qualification is assured, especially as he has begun to look fatigued for Juventus. And try not to take lessons from Milan on how to defend headers, otherwise you end up making Nicklas Bendtner look good.

Having said all that, let’s not pretend it wasn’t amusing to ruin Denmark’s hopes of qualification in stoppages with a 2-2 scoreline. Sweet Scandinavian revenge for Euro 2004...

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Have your say...
Insigne, verratti, florenzi etc need more playing time. Bardi deserves a shot. Why play gigi in both games? Ranocchia is beyond crap anyone who disagrees is clueless. Why no ogbonna? We need cassano. Cesare needs to get his act together.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 6:16am
The other night was painful. I think we ve been crap in all the qualifying games. We arent clinical in front of goal and in defense we are dire. Lots of dead wood in the squad which needs throwing on the fire. Roncaglia should get a call up. Buffon i love you your the best ever, but i have to agree with the comments
on the 13th October, 2013 at 6:06am
how long will this attitude stay with the Italian Coaches? having a good young talented range of players yet our dear head coach has to experiment with the usual players rather than fielding new faces. Prandelli as all coaches he gets paranoid & afraid.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 8:29pm
I really didn't like what I saw last night. I get so annoyed when Italy sit back & invite trouble on themselves. Ball retention was very poor once again. How Marchisio keeps getting picked, I don't know: invisible, on the periphery, & screws-up a decent chance. The only positive is that we played poorly, but didn't lose-much like the Czech away game & against Japan. The young players need to be given more playing time.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 6:57pm
GET OUT DENMARK !!!!! AND WITH A 2-2 !!!!! at least now I can forget the biscitto of 2004 !!!!
on the 12th October, 2013 at 6:49pm
Any one think we need a new gattuso or de rossi in the squad to help out the defense now and then? Is there any up and coming there like them?
on the 12th October, 2013 at 6:48pm
We need a more tactical, creative midfield so they can dictate the possession of games get are strikers more involved and give are defense less strain on them throughout matches. Prandelli is doing it the total opposite way and it won't work. He has the midfield attacking forward wasting chances not really creating any not scoring goals and giving less chances to are strikers who fail to even make an impact due to these tactics and leaving the defense way to exposed to the counter.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 2:10pm
Aquilani, Giaccherini,Motta,Candreva,Gilardino,Cerci,Ranocchia,Astori, do not deserve to be on this team it's a joke, it's a big waste of space and there's the right talent available that isn't being taking or considered or still have not been used correctly. Prandelli is on my last nerve if he fails to call up new players for upcoming friendlies from now to the WC I will have completely lost faith in are chances in Brazil if this current squad goes it will be embarrassing.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 1:24pm
@ Mass.

We do need to give likes of Gabbiadini a go, but not now as we have the right level of youth in the squad. We're in it to win it, so if the likes of Totti and Di Natale are still playing at an outstanding level they have to be picked. It's smart to have an experienced head amongst every department of the team (Buffon, Barzagli and Chiellini, Pirlo and De Rossi and that goes for the striker dept also). They should be replaced for the Euro qualifiers and grow together as a new group.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 1:16pm
i like how prandelli said we have to play the young guys jesus murphy, start playing them florenzi should have been in this game, i wanna see next game verrati insigne balo florenzi and rossi what a beautiful game they would play with these guys, im tired of seeing guys like aqualani even though he scored and gilardino and so on start playing our young guns before they start disappearing like every other player in italy and its sad that on first goal it was a connection of two non italian player
on the 12th October, 2013 at 11:46am
How Ranocchia has made it so far in his career is remarkable because he is just remarkably poor. Hardly talks, lots awkward and makes the simple things look really difficult. Hopefully we will not see him too much more in the Azzurri shirt.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 9:00am
The answer is to NOT bring back the likes of Totti and Di Natale! Yes they are doing well at there respective clubs, but Italy should be looking to the future and blooding the younger generation. The likes of Florenzi, Gabbiadini, Insigne & Verratti need games. Fair enough a number of those players were injured last night but I would much prefer to see the likes of Astori, Rossi & Sirigu being given games as well.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 8:30am
When everybody is fit, Italy do have a strong squad with many options, I'm pretty sure players like gilardino and ranocchia won't be at the WC. As this was an experimental Italy, I would of like to seen young new players given a chance like, zaza, berardi, bardi etc. I hate to say this but I think Buffon should retire for Italy after the WC, many keepers out there who can take his place for the long term, marchetti or bardi are my choices.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 8:21am
When Prandelli talked of experimentation he means relying on players he trusts, just playing them in different positions and formations. I didn't see the game, didn't feel the need to see the same old Italian B string huffing and puffing about a field in Denmark. If anyone is under the illusion that, at this stage, Prandelli will blood some new players or recall Cassanata or Totti is sadly misguided. Give or take, this is pretty much the squad he intends to take to the World Cup.......
on the 12th October, 2013 at 8:20am
My 23 for Brazil would look like this. Unless Marchisio starts showing form I would be inclined to pick T Motta as he's more versatile. And I would def pick one experienced head up front btwn Totti/Di Natale dependent on their form at the end of the season

Buffon, Sirigu, Marchetti

Maggio, Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Bonucci, Balzaretti, De Sciglio

Candreva,Giacherini, De Rossi, Pirlo, Verratti, Marchisio/Thiago Motta, Florenzi, Montolivo

Rossi, Balotelli, Osvaldo, Di Natale/Totti, Insigne
on the 12th October, 2013 at 8:20am
Still so much deadwood in the team... Ranocchia, Aquilani, Gilardino, Di Silvestri. Sorry I'm just not a fan of Cerci everytime I watch him he does Jack! Good to see Osvaldo staking a claim as Balotelli's reserve and good to see Balzaretti and Thiago Motta too, players I've always liked and should be considered for Brazil.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 8:05am
I totally agree with azzurrista, Buffon sadly isn't the goal keeper he once was. Being a juventino I always back the Juve players but sadly this time I admit that Gigi even for juve this season, his positioning and awareness has been questionable. He look static and diving was either delayed or he didn't read it properly.
The only option is to replace him but with who? Marchetti? Sirigu? Bardi? For once at this moment in time Italy doesn't have a world class shot stopper.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 8:00am
Not too bothered about this game as you could say it was virtually a friendly. However, I do believe that in more important games some of these players CP is picking will never see the Azzurro top. Lets not over romanticise and start mentioning players like Totti, Di Natale and co. CP needs to start using the youngsters ( I know most were injured) so that we can look further than the WC 2014. I think Pirlo is brilliant but I do feel that we need to say thank you but good bye.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 7:49am
@ Azzurrista: You have a point, but the fact of the matter is that even today's Buffon is better than most of the so-called top GKs not just from Italy but across the world... The only guy who has the talent to be Gigi's #2 is Casillas and it'd be effusive praise to say that he has the same range of skills as Gigi - FFS that guy has lost his place to Diego Lopez... The only guy who could potentially replace Gigi - after 2018 - would be one of 2 Juventus talents: Nicola Leali or Mattia Perin...
on the 12th October, 2013 at 3:49am
Because of the heat and humidity in Brazil, I think the team that wins the WC is going to be the one with the deepest team. That's why Prandelli needs to take strikes that he can count on. Cassano needs to be there. He is the only forward that can offer creativity as well as score goals.
on the 12th October, 2013 at 12:24am
Although Buffon is a legend, I think he should retire from international soccer after the WC. Italy needs to start planning to find someone to take his place. His reflexes are not at all what they were before. He is letting in goals for both club and country that he NEVER let in before.

I think it will be very important what strikers Prandelli takes to the WC. Although Osvaldo scored it blows my mind how he made it into the national team!!
Aside from Balotelli and Rossi,Cassano must be ther
on the 12th October, 2013 at 12:19am
And please Prandelli, get rid of Gilardino. Pleaaaaase!
on the 11th October, 2013 at 11:19pm
Nice to get a point and avoid defeat but am I the only one that thinks Buffon's age is getting the better of him. He seemed so static on the goal line and his reaction times are off. The question is who can take his place?
on the 11th October, 2013 at 11:11pm
Honestly where was the experimentation with the same dismal play by Marchisio, Candreva, and Montolivo. Castoffs like Aquilani and Gilardino get a shot. Now that Osvaldo has scored expect him to play forever. Why can't we bring back talent like Totti, Cassano, even Di Natale and Quagliarella. They should have been called up for these non-games and reorient themselves with the team.
on the 11th October, 2013 at 11:10pm

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