Tuesday February 13 2018
Juventus embody calcio cliches

After 10 minutes, Juventus looked ready to dispel all the tired tropes, writes Adam Digby, only to fall straight back into them against Tottenham Hotspur.

Very few things are more annoying to football fans than clichés, and on Tuesday evening in Turin, it seemed Juventus were set to deliver a performance against Tottenham Hotspur that would rubbish every tired trope it was possible throw at them.

The game – which marked the first competitive meeting between these two teams – was just 90 seconds old when Miralem Pjanic clipped a clever free kick into the area. Gonzalo Higuain duly dispatched it into the bottom corner, his reputation for “choking in big moments” seemingly the first banality to fall by the wayside.

Just seven minutes later, Ben Davies’ clumsy challenge on Federico Bernardeschi saw the Bianconeri awarded a penalty and the Argentinian No.9 tucked that away too, doubling the advantage and putting the home side firmly in control of the tie. Juve had pressed forward at pace and in numbers over that opening period, dispelling the myth that “Italian teams are dour and defensive.”

From then on, the game descended into the worst nightmare of everyone on the Curva Sud, with each stereotypical opinion of both teams rapidly becoming a reality before their eyes. No matter how much the passionate and vocal crowd urged them on, the players in black and white began to retreat further and further back towards Gigi Buffon’s goal. The 40-year-old initially seemed determined to prove he could and should play on beyond this season, pulling out a superb stop to deny a Harry Kane header, but an emboldened Spurs continued to push forward.

Alex Sandro would hand them a huge lifeline, caught far too deep in the 35th minute and allowing Kane to stay onside and latch onto a slide rule through ball from Dele Alli, making no mistake as he slotted the ball home. The “never say die” English attitude was manifest throughout the visitors’ line-up, suddenly winning every 50/50 challenge and looking far more dangerous despite being away from home against a vastly more experienced opponent.

Higuain pulled a left-footed shot wide and ensured the half-time chatter was back to his shortcomings when he missed a second penalty, blasting the ball down the middle rather than picking out a corner as he had earlier. His frustration grew in the second half, booked for protesting a perceived foul shortly after the restart, but those same fans who packed the stadium to cheer him who would be even angrier moments later.

A free kick from Christian Eriksen saw both Buffon and his wall positioned poorly, the Dane grabbing an equaliser all to easily against a team who had not conceded a goal in 2018 before this game got underway. By the final whistle, Mauricio Pochettino’s men had dominated Juve like so many other English sides before them, enjoying almost 70% possession and completely controlling the second half.

While Spurs must be lauded for their self-belief and team spirit, it must be said that Higuain could’ve ended that brave resistance before it began. The Bianconeri did bizarrely fall back rather than continue taking the game to their opponents and Max Allegri must hope they don’t live to regret it.

Now in the second leg, it will be the Old Lady looking to make sure her well-worn mantra is the one cliché that does come true, because for Juventus at Wembley, “winning is not important: it’s the only thing that counts.”

Have your say...
Italian teams in general are defensive,especially big teams that risk losing everything.Smaller team seems to enjoy themselves and show off better football as the case of Atalanta.Its not a matter of cliche rather a matter of teams and managers.Allegri with all his success is not a flexible open minded coach as Sarri or Oddo.@ 50 shades of Juventus,did you just say Italy have no combat athletes, what about Fabio Basile Judo gold medal in Rio 2016!!!!
on the 19th February, 2018 at 11:27am
It's funny how you compare the overrated EPL to Serie A. The financial gap between the two leagues is huge yet the gap in coefficients rankings is not. So without all that money EPL would be nothing.
on the 18th February, 2018 at 7:06pm

The difference in the diving is that Italian football is well known for being slow and full of simulation. Whilst England and Spain have it as well at least they can still tackle and cope with shoulder barges. Out if Juve and Tottenham you didn’t see Tottenham players fallun* all over the floor and stop playing and look at the ref like Juve players do.

As to foreign flare, English cultural footy is to be fast and physical which foreign players pick up on. In Italy it’s the opposite.
on the 17th February, 2018 at 5:43pm
@50 Shades Of Juventus can you tell me why tere is 15 cups in england???So evryone can win somthing at the end of d season???
When a team spend one billion euro for players i would expect them to atleast play a CL finals,but top EPl teams that spend like that can even make it to semifinals so.....
Chears mate!!!
on the 16th February, 2018 at 5:39pm
@50 Shades Of Juventus you nailed it mate!!! If i wont to watch broken bones i will not watch MMA or any other fighting sport ill turn my TV on EPL, so many nice lads there,slow unskilled going in opposition player legs whit no chance of playin whit d ball or kicking a goalkeeper in the head cos who is he to make that save!!!But for anyone that wonna watch foodball there is: Seria A,La liga,Bundesliga,Liga 1 all way better then EPL.
on the 16th February, 2018 at 5:34pm
You see guys, the way I am seen it it's not the fault Allegri or the players. Rather i'll put the blame on the Italian football in general. The philosophy of the league is very boring, zero competition for juve, every team is playing safety 1st. Just look at Napoli as the league leaders who are in a great form But cannot even qualify to the round of 16. This is telling you that something is very wrong with the league. Our style of play is very inferior to others'.
Forza Juve!
on the 16th February, 2018 at 2:06pm
Hey pals!

it's not a case of trying to rubbish one League or another!
Rather we should discuss properly the ins and outs of football.
Discuss about our teams sensibly and about calcio in general.

Regardless of what anybody might spew out in envy, Juventus was, is and will be one of the great, great, great, but truly really great Clubs in World Football.
Historically one of the greatest!
on the 16th February, 2018 at 10:29am
50 shades

So Harry Kane never dived during the match?

You used the English and Spanish as examples, but everyone knows their respective leagues are full of simulation. Guess what? The whole world of football is, sadly.

Saying that diving is typically a Serie A thing is utterly ignorant and biased.

And don't give me that "EPL mixes foreign flair" nonsense. Because the Serie A is completely Italian?

Yeah, Italy didn't make it to the WC, but they always did better than England when it matters. At least they can hold it together during a penalty shoot out.
I'd rather not qualify than be embarrassed every 4 years since the 60s.
on the 16th February, 2018 at 6:29am
Well said. I also agree that seems to be a legitimate problem that needs to be addressed by the FIGC.
on the 16th February, 2018 at 5:34am
. Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester city are all coached by non Italian coaches whose coaching style from the youth teams right through is based far more on players expressing themselves and ball control within the framework of the team. The out - dated over emphasiis on the technical aspect of football by all Italian coaches is dragging Italian football down which can now be seen at International level. Italy haven't produced a forward with the Fantasia element since Totti and Del Piero.
on the 16th February, 2018 at 12:22am
Carpe Diem Man City were in the Semi Final 2 years ago against Real Madrid
on the 15th February, 2018 at 11:21pm
Carpe Diem When was the last time an English club won the CL and when was the last time an Italian side won it? All the money? Juve and Milan and inter have money as well. They’re still rubbish. Put it this way if you put Man City into serie a they’d win serie a. Do you think Juve in the premier league could win it? They’d get destroyed. Ravanelli Leave the internationals out. Italy aren’t even in the WC. Pipe down.
on the 15th February, 2018 at 9:41pm

The penalties weren’t dives. They were legit. But there ar3 many occasions where juve were falling all over the floor when they are outmuscled and look at the ref expecting a free kick. Those are bad habits formed in serie A which don’t translate to European footy. I was waiting for the national team card to be played. English club teams combine physicality with foreign flare. Italian teams combine boring defensive anti football with complete pansy like physicality.
on the 15th February, 2018 at 9:35pm
@50Shades, you can say all you want about the prem league, Serie A is ahead of EPL in Uefa rankings as well as Atalanta DEMOLISHED Everton, so anything can happen. EPL clubs can BARELY pass the ball around. OH and is that why ITALIAN coaches have been so successful in the EPL. Save it
on the 15th February, 2018 at 9:12pm
@CARPE DIEM Mancity made it to semifinals in 2016 and chelsea in 2013/2014 and english are better thats the reason the have 4 champion leahue spots and italian league has 3
and the ones who are saying Juve will win in Wembley they have not lost it at wembley since september so good luck with that
on the 15th February, 2018 at 7:07pm

If we want to play silly boys games, not a one British Club, despite all the wonga and all the foreign stars in the Premiership, has even made it to the semifinals in the last FIVE YEARS!

Five long years............

That means FAILURE......
on the 15th February, 2018 at 5:48pm
@ 50 shades Really, Italian football is pansy. And the German ref who is used to "physical footy" didn't give Juve fouls.. Yeah except for 2 penalties, and the foul from which Juve also scored... Because Harry Kane never fell down like a feather the whole match. Because the EPL is free from all forms of shameless diving.. Every player that moves from the EPL or La Liga to Serie A talks about how the game in Italy is more physical and more demanding. Tell me, since their football is so great and manly, when was the last time the English national team achieved anything? Get outta here man. Simulation is plaguing the whole world of football. If anything, it's least evident in Italy and more prominent in Spain and England. And why are we talking about combat athletes and rugby?? Yes we see a pattern, you talking nonsensical rubbish.
on the 15th February, 2018 at 5:31pm
English and Spanish teams play fast high intensity matches for 90 minutes. Quick passes etc. That’s why the games are so entertaining. They are physically stronger and the football is aggressive. In Italy it’s pansy girly football which is why the Juve players were throwing themselves to the floor and the non Italian ref (German and used to physical footy) wouldn’t give them free kicks. There are no half decent Italian combat athletes (boxing or MMA) and the rugby team sucks. Pattern emerging?
on the 15th February, 2018 at 4:14pm
@35 Sul

If you want to bring up the recent past English clubs pistol whip Italian sides. Italian football is based on no pressing, each player has decades on the ball, no speed, try and score one goal and then defend in your penalty box. Physically Italian football is embarrassing. If a players gets touched he falls and the ref gives a free kick. The players are accustomed to falling over and being given a break by a referee. That’s not a cliche, it’s factual.
on the 15th February, 2018 at 4:10pm

AKA supporters of no hopers Clubs...........

Do you realize how daft it is to try to nark the best team in Italy?
With 6 years of mega huge achievements?

A CV of win, after win, after win!

Endless Scudetti, Coppe Italia, Supercoppe, Champions League FINALS.........

A fantastic run of victories after victories!

on the 15th February, 2018 at 3:36pm
@vikto So how many titles did your team win in the last 5 years. Seeing as we are counting?
on the 15th February, 2018 at 3:33pm
@ Viktor

How about you win the "Coppa del Nonno"?
Or win a few matches instead of losing, losing and losing?

How about you worry about your team of losers, losers, losers?

We are very, very, very happy, as a matter of fact ecstatic, with all the great achievements of our Juventus!

We win, we win, we win and keep on winning!

on the 15th February, 2018 at 3:03pm
@viktor: yes. Tottenham playing their best lead to a draw, despite Juve playing badly, missing a penalty and Higuain and Bernardeschi missing two great chances. When Costa and Bernardeschi ran at the defense, they fell apart...conceding two penalties and a glorious chance in the process. It's not belief that Tottenham gained but rather, relief that they didn't get battered. Tottenham won't play out a 0-0 so it's an open game. I'm being generous at 50-50.
on the 15th February, 2018 at 2:58pm
Disregard any negative comments fuelled by envy of Juventus mega huge success.............

It ain't worth it!

All pure, hateful drivel that has no real foundations and has no value whatsoever..........
A sheer waste of space and time.

@ Maldini's Heir

don't worry, I get the gist of your reasoning, and you hit the bullseye!

on the 15th February, 2018 at 2:38pm
35 Sul Campo, you are delusional.. What game did you watch? Tottenham looked so much better than Juve it was embarrassing.

The 2-2 result was a disaster.. They will lose at Wembley and probably pretty badly...
on the 15th February, 2018 at 1:19pm
50 Shades Of Juventus are you sick? Juve reached the final twice in three years and you are full of anger? Get a life!
on the 15th February, 2018 at 12:14pm

How about you win something in Europe then talk

And dont give me all bs yes we won the tremble, or we won that 20 years go etc.

Who cares about being second? It is winning that matters.

on the 15th February, 2018 at 9:25am
@35 Sul Campo

It's still 50-50?
on the 15th February, 2018 at 9:23am
Am I missing something? Tottenham played the game of their lives and barely scraped a draw against Juve. Juve had the best chances despite playing very deep after 2-0. This serves as a good wake up for Juve to impose their game in the next leg. It's still 50-50 and no need for hysterics. @50 Shades about being dominated by English and Spanish: until recently, we didn't play English teams because they didn't make knockout stages. Spain: knocked out Real and Barca over 2 legs in last 3 years.
on the 15th February, 2018 at 9:07am
My money was on the English club since the draw hence no surprise to me. Tottenham will destroy the best Italian team
on the 15th February, 2018 at 7:07am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.