Saturday November 11 2017
Pirlo: 'Italy must play 4-3-3'

Andrea Pirlo urged Giampiero Ventura to adopt a 4-3-3 formation for Italy’s World Cup play-off against Sweden after a 1-0 defeat.

The second leg is on Monday at San Siro and the Azzurri genuinely risk missing their first World Cup since 1958.

While the Coach shelved his usual 4-2-4 formation for a 3-5-2, there was nothing to impress in Solna and Marco Verratti picked up a ban.

“Like the whole squad, unfortunately Verratti didn’t have a good game,” Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia.

“He had a couple of good searching passes in the first half and then lost his way. Perhaps after the yellow card he was afraid of going into the tackle, as he feared a red. He certainly didn’t play the way he usually does at Paris Saint-Germain.”

Considering Verratti will be suspended for the second leg on Monday, what advice would Pirlo give to Ventura?

“I’d take a more attacking approach, playing a 4-3-3 system to give a little more room to Lorenzo Insigne so he can take men on in the final third.

“We lost a lot of balls centrally because of the way the two strikers play. We ought to spread the play to the wings in order to out-number them.

“It’ll be tough to find spaces and Sweden will be very defensive in the second leg, but you can only break them down by moving the ball quickly.

“We’ll have to score a goal at all costs, but the quality of the football also certainly needs to improve. We’ll have to suffer and there will be a lot of pressure, but the second leg is a completely different game.”

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