Thursday October 11 2018
Inexperienced Italy look disjointed

Roberto Mancini has incorporated new faces in the Azzurri setup, but Billy Wilkinson saw a disjointed display against Ukraine.

One of the big criticisms of the Azzurri in recent years has been the seeming reluctance to incorporate new blood into the side. Newly hired Roberto Mancini quickly moved to mend that criticism, with the likes of Lorenzo Insigne, Jorginho and Federico Bernardeschi becoming starters.

That may be a change, but there is one constant: no matter who seems to play in the XI, the performances still remain uninspiring and often clueless, whilst the results often correlate.

The first half against Ukraine started well both Bernardeschi and Leonardo Bonucci having chances inside 10 minutes. Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine quickly settled though and became a resilient, well coached defensive side. Gaps in the defence were hard to come by but after 55 minutes, Federico Bernardeschi came up with a blistering shot from outside the box that beat Andriy Pyatov at this near post.

You would have thought that Bernardeschi’s goal would give Italy some confidence considering they seem to lack it desperately under Mancini and Giampiero Ventura before him. However, the psyche of the team remains just as frail as it has been the past few years.

Midfielder Ruslan Malinovskiy scored the equaliser just seven minutes later, following a Mykyta Burda knock-on from a corner where Italy seemed to be seriously lacking attention and organisation. Both sides had a chance to steal the game but in truth neither side had the quality to do it convincingly as it finished 1-1.

Historically and more recently, under Antonio Conte, defending has been Italy’s strongpoint. With past sides, scoring one goal was enough to win the game as the defence and the defensive coaching from the CT would see them through.

However, at this point it seems to be more of a confidence and self-belief issue for La Nazionale. Chiellini and Bonucci seem like different players once they play internationally, as do the majority of the squad. Mancini’s reign started well with a win over Saudi Arabia, but there have been no wins since and it’s clearly damaging the players’ mentality.

The lack of integration of young players over the years seems to now be catching up with Italy. Their two most capped players in this squad are Chiellini and Bonucci with 98 and 82 caps respectively. Then there’s a massive drop off to Ciro Immobile with 34. It’s not a surprise that Italy look so disjointed.

Credit does have to go to Roberto Mancini, he gave the people what they wanted and tried to bring new blood into the side. The only issue is it doesn’t matter which players came into the side, this seems to be a period for Il Azzurri where talent is desperately lacking. The players are of course talented enough to beat lesser sides such as Ukraine, but it really does have to be noted that this is not a side as talented as the successful ones before.

Italy’s next game is a visit to Poland for the UEFA Nations League where a loss could place them with an almost impossible hill to climb to get to the next round.

Perhaps Mancini will have a few tricks up his sleeve but Italy’s chances for this one look slim, which is all you need to know about this Italian national team.

Have your say...
France looks very stable at the moment!
on the 7th December, 2018 at 10:36pm
@Anono, I am done debating this also. Sorry if you feel disrespected, but your calling French athletes "Africans " in a derogatory way is much more offensive. I was in Rimini 2 months ago and heard people say things that only "educating yourselves" can fix. As I said many post ago, sports is about all players being given an equal chance to make the squad that way you'll field the best team. However that starts with equality in society everyone getting a fair shake. It's about Human Civilization.
on the 26th October, 2018 at 8:39am
Italy Tifoso
Coming on here and saying "educate yourselves and come correct" because we don't follow your view is disrespectful and the very reason I am Done debating with you on this matter.
on the 25th October, 2018 at 4:25pm
Italy Tifoso
We are in big trouble because of the big teams no longer use the youth system in Italy correctly. Players like Bakayoko of Milan; they brought this sack of potatoes in and sold a perfectly good young Italian. Mario Rui of Napoli is another prime example, average player so a young Italian should be in that position. The list in Italy is endless.
It Serie As open policy that has put Italy in the mess we are in not because we don't want to field 'Gods children' from around the world!
on the 25th October, 2018 at 3:51pm
@Anono, man, "All people are God's children" now you're twisting my phrases. Just "enjoy" Football instead of politicizing it. Personally, its your problem if you think International calcio is flawed. Anyway, it ain't changing because the format is based on citizenship not "blood or race." Unfortunately, a lot of Italians are hung up on that stuff, but a lot of Italians are cool and resisting that rubbish. However, Gli Azzurri are in big trouble until you folks educate yourselves and come correct.
on the 25th October, 2018 at 8:39am
Italy tifoso
Another quick question...
What happens to those like me who don't believe in God but believe in science? Are we children of science?
Simply making a point of players not linked to a nation shouldnt play for them, you bring in God and Colonialism; ARE THEY FRENCH!?
Go ask the French how happy they really are about their utd nations of a team- people hoped the world cup win would help settle social struggles that you clearly dont see, Gods children why have nations at all then?
on the 23rd October, 2018 at 3:46pm
Italy tifoso
So, France can field a team of athletes (gods children) from Africa. Rest of Europe can also field athletes from outside of Europe (also god children btw) and then the Euros in 2 years won't technically be the Euros, It will be the Euros Mix Gods Children Cup and then in 4 years World Gods Children Cup.
Ok, sounds great. Sounds like club football, i guess there will be a transfer deadline and change nationality deadline day?
So can i ask u? whats the point in international footy?
on the 23rd October, 2018 at 3:33pm
@Anono, athlete's are not athlete's, people are people. "God's children." All this notion of pure-blood countries and people. It's nonsense! It's never ever been 100% this race or that blood. As long as the most influential culture and society on the planet field's any sport's team for International Competition your view is a joke! You're just trying to move the goal post, but rules are rules and progress is progress. In the days of Colonialism, Europeans played for African countries, a big joke
on the 23rd October, 2018 at 9:24am
@Anono, in the end your point is totally useless. Like I said, according to your logic the USA should be banned from all international competition because real Native Americans are Red People. Even you Italians aren't as "pure" as you think. Man, I've seen Sicilians and Napolitani as black as I am,yep, I'm Afro-American going back 500 years. If you want to change the world sporting order you better get going with your campaign because you got a long. lonely fight ahead. Buona fortuna!
on the 21st October, 2018 at 3:38pm
Italy Tifoso
Griezmann has father who is german and mother who is Portuguese, so in response to your black comment its the whole team i have an issue with not just the black athletes. Pogbas 2 brothers play for the Guinean national team- so Pogba is French and his mum and dad and rest of the family are another nationality, sounds like club football. If a dogs born in a barn doesn't make it a horse,
Italy have Eder, Amauri and another list of players with absolutely no links to Italy.
on the 20th October, 2018 at 2:12pm
@Anono, For your sake I did a little research to end your notion of France or any other country recruiting Africans because they have black footballers. K. Mbappe born Paris, P. Pogba born Lagny Sur Marne, B. Matuidi born Toulouse, all born in France to French citizens. I'm really a tifoso of Italy, travel there often (3 times in the last 14 months)but after first getting rid of your Interior Minister the Football Federation needs to change it's outlook and influence your society to modernize.
on the 18th October, 2018 at 1:53pm
@Anono you're ignoring everything I¨m pointing out to you. Man I hope you're not indicative of the Italian education system, but I can see your concept of not only world/human, but also sports history is nonexistent. But anyway, your opinion holds no weight in world affairs. Italy must find a serious striker. The tifosi and Italy destroyed Balotelli with the same race hate/nationalism, since he was a child soccer prodigy, that you espouse. Be prepared for a sad, mediocre Azzurri future for years
on the 18th October, 2018 at 9:13am
Italy Tifoso
I find it harder to understand your reasoning more than mine. This is not Club football this is international football.
The World Cup and Euros is where a nation picks THEIR best.
Your view of international football is; a national team can send scouts around the world pick 1 player from every country put them in a new national team and then they to can become like the Utd Africa (France), that sounds like club football to me. So Italy won't be Italy will they?
on the 17th October, 2018 at 7:38pm
Man, I can't believe your reasoning! If what you say is factual, then the USA couldn't compete in any International Sport, period. Where is there any ruling in sport saying an athlete's heritage (blood) matters. Everyone in the USA can trace their blood to another land up to 500 years ago (Afro-Americans) FOREVER THE RED MAN'S LAND. You Italians are among the most recent immigrants (1-100 years ago). So let's disqualify all Italian-American athletes first and send them back! France is civilized.
on the 17th October, 2018 at 9:43am
Italy Tifoso
As for 'burning italy a new ass', based on what you and I have now pointed out (you wothout even realising); if Italy were to meet a French team with french blood it would be 11 italians players vs 1.5 french players. Based on the fact 87% of the french team are immigrant and/or born to immigrant parents means no blood links to france for any of them.
Linking international players to a nation by family history is key in this modern world or theres no identity; the french team
on the 16th October, 2018 at 6:38pm
@Italy Tifoso
Fantastic anwser, you have answered your own question. Blood of Italians is what should be in the national team. So I ask you; Do the athletes you speak of have French blood? Not 1 of the Athletes you speak of has aleast one french parent they are a mix of North and south Athlete (African). Please don't talk to me about blood, Im Italain (both parents) and writing English! I am not taking anything away from the players I am simply telling you they are not French in any way.
on the 16th October, 2018 at 6:36pm
@ Anono stop calling athlete's Africans when they are citizens of France. Hell, I'm an American and we have 25 million people with the blood of Italian immigrants. Are they still Italians or Americans? Count Italian Immigrants & offspring in countries like Canada, Argentina, Australia, the rest of Europe, and we're talking at least 50 Million PEOPLE WITH ITALIAN BLOOD! Meanwhile, France's World Champs would "burn Italy a new ass" on the pitch in a qualifying match. France is a modern society.
on the 15th October, 2018 at 8:25am
Italy Tifoso
No i am missing no point. I think you are. I don't want to see Italy become like France. Africans and whoever else can play for their respective nations.
Take the Africans away from France and France would be left with the GK that is not the future I want for Italy.
It is international football not club football- soon there will be a nationality deadline day for international football; pick your nationality of choice before 31st Aug to Avoid missing a world cup.
on the 15th October, 2018 at 5:32am
Anonymous 1&2 you both miss my point. Italy has plenty of foreigners African and others within its borders. But at this stage they can't even become citizens even if born there. Maybe another Pogba or Weah is within your midst but they'll never even get a fair shot. Sports is about the best competing for a spot on the squad. That's where you all are losing. Stop complaining about how bad the Azzurri are if you want to exist in bubble of racist ignorance. There's no race in football. Just talent!
on the 14th October, 2018 at 12:58pm
@Italy Tifoso
Are you insane? One African team in Europe is more than enough. We 100% do not need to follow their set up.
I agree Italy is in the past but following your comments i would rather be in the past than a utd African nation.
on the 14th October, 2018 at 5:53am
@ Tifoso, I don't think Italy needs to import a bunch of Africans to win.. We can get better with our own lads... but agree that we are living in the past
on the 13th October, 2018 at 3:55pm
I found the opinion made by writer Bonucci very revealing by his comment on World Champs France's physicality. The point is that France and Italy are light years apart these days in all aspects of society both politically and culturally. Just look at the ethnic make-up of France's powerful side. They are the off-spring of immigrants. Sports is about competition open and honest as society advances in a modern way. Football has changed. Players are now large and fast. Italy is living in the past.
on the 13th October, 2018 at 7:57am
Your right. Lets fail to qualify for the next 2 tournaments and once we have failed we can say at least the teams young, great advise with fans like you we will never win anything again!
Mancini can experiment for the next 10years unless Serie A changes and quickly Mancini will be experimenting with players from Serie B. Are you alseep? The argument is he has no players of true quality to choose from so experimenting is pointless pick the strongest team regardless of age and win
on the 13th October, 2018 at 5:44am
Italy played a good first half and with a bit more luck could have scored 3 goals in that game... 2nd half wasn't that bad either...
on the 13th October, 2018 at 1:05am
Rewind a year ago Italy recently lost to Spain 3-0 in a WC qualifier with an experienced team and arrogant CT in Ventura. Italy had secured a playoff place and already lost the game to Sweden before a ball was kicked due to negative words and "it would be a catastrophe if Italy failed to qualify for the WC2018"!
Today, we have an inexperienced team that is learning, Mancini needs to experiment with the pool of players available. Give it time! STOP THE NEGATIVE TALK. GET BEHIND GLI AZZURRI
on the 12th October, 2018 at 8:37pm
Dear Mancini,

Stop calling Immobile and start putting Scuffet in goal.

Thank you.
on the 12th October, 2018 at 7:14pm
Diffrent times. 86 and 18 is a very diffrent time. 86 we were preparing oursleves with a youth set up that would see a baggio, maldini, albertini donadoni the list can go on and on... forward to now, who do we have? Juve full of foreigners, inter, milan, roma the same. We are picking up talent from Serie B teams.
The problem is overated, they are average at best.
@anonymous (8.46) i have watched the games there is no optimism in any of them terrible in every single game.
on the 12th October, 2018 at 7:23am
@CG so Italy should only take players from teams who are champions? Well that would be great, but the only team who wins in Italy is Juventus, and Juventus aren't exactly producing a plethora of Italian champions.
Look in your own backyard before accusing others.
on the 12th October, 2018 at 5:22am

Florenzi Romagnoli Chiellini Biraghi
Bernardeschi Jorginho Barella (Allan) Chiesa
Politano Balotelli


Bonucci Romagnoli Chiellini
Florenzi Jorginho Barella (Allan) Bonaventura El Sharaway
Cutrone Balotelli

With these two teams and formations, Italy can move forward positively. Continuing with the 4-3-3 and the same personnel is the definition of madness. If only the FIGC could impose an Italian quota in Serie A we would have even more to choose from. 3/3
on the 12th October, 2018 at 12:05am
Our team should look like this at all times, barring a few changes based on form or injuries.
GK: Donnarumma Sirigu Consigli
DEF: Calabria Bonucci Chiellini Biraghi Florenzi Acerbi Romagnoli D’Ambrosio
MID: Chiesa Verratti Jorginho Bonaventura Bernardeschi Barella Allan El Sharaway
FW: Politano Balotelli Cutrone Inglese

If you are sat on the bench and don’t get any game time (Perin, Rugani, Caldara, Orsolini) then you cannot be picked. Allan will need to get his passport, we need him. 2/3
on the 12th October, 2018 at 12:04am

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