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Wednesday May 2 2012
Pazzini – Inter’s biggest casualty

Not everyone at Inter has been revived by a change of Coach. Antonio Labbate writes on the possible consequences of their mad campaign for Giampaolo Pazzini.

There were just six minutes of normal time left and Italy were still looking for the goal that would secure qualification for Euro 2012. The Azzurri had prodded and probed for most of the night, but breaking the deadlock had been beyond them thanks to a mixture of poor finishing and stout Slovenian defending.

With Italy now playing in a 4-3-3 formation following the introduction of Mario Balotelli and Giampaolo Pazzini, fellow substitute Claudio Marchisio fired a long ball towards the pair. Pazzini went up for the header, and missed it, before a fortunate rebound fell invitingly in front of him. Without hesitation, he fired it into the back of the net from close range.

Although not guaranteed a place in Cesare Prandelli's starting XI, Pazzini, over the course of a season, had put to one side the difficulties that affected his relationship with the tactician at Fiorentina. The striker had done enough during subsequent spells at Sampdoria and then Inter to become a regular fixture in the Giro Azzurro. So much so that only Giorgio Chiellini, Antonio Cassano and Andrea Pirlo made more appearances in qualifying than the 27-year-old.

That strike last September, however, seems a lifetime away now. Almost eight months on and Pazzini has had his most complicated campaign since a lack of playing time under Prandelli, in Florence, led to his January 2009 departure to the port city of Genoa.

During a term in which Inter have underperformed and needed three Coaches to mount a serious bid at qualifying for next season's Champions League, Pazzini has suffered the consequences of playing for a misfiring team and being challenged on a tactical level by a phenomenal scorer in Diego Milito.

Pazzo has an astonishing goal record at San Siro given that Inter have won every League game in which the former Atalanta youth product has netted. While that was impressive last term following 11 strikes in just 17 games, his touch has deserted him this time around.

Pazzini has grabbed only five goals in Serie A since last September and amazingly none of them have come via his capable heading ability. When you take into consideration his three Champions League efforts, Pazzini is running the risk of failing to get into double figures domestically for the first time since 2007-08.

Giampaolo's last goal was an inconsequential penalty in the European Cup defeat to Marseille. His previous strike to that was back in January 22 when he lobbed Federico Marchetti in a crucial 2-1 win over Lazio. Milito, on the other hand, has celebrated 22 times this term.

While the March appointment of Andrea Stramaccioni has revitalised the side and some of its struggling individual components, it hasn't had the same sort of effect on Pazzini. While previous boss Claudio Ranieri insisted that Milito and Pazzini could co-exist, the former Primavera tactician is adamant that they can't.

“We are talking about two important players, but a pair who are not compatible in my opinion,” stated the 36-year-old on Tuesday. “It will be hard to see them start a game together. Giampaolo is working well, but even my grandmother would be able to judge Milito's last few games – they've been extraordinary.”

Pazzini was given an opportunity against Cesena at the weekend, but didn't take it to make his case to be considered for starts in the three remaining games of the season versus Parma, Milan and Lazio. Those matches will not only decide Inter's Champions League ambitions, but probably also Pazzini's Euro 2012 fate and his Nerazzurri future. 

Have your say...
Pazzini deserves some respect. He has done well but really for the entire Inter squad it's been an off year so we can't put all the blame on him.
on the 6th May, 2012 at 7:37pm
The modern day centre-forward has to do a lot more than poach goals. Pazzini's team play is poor and besides goal scoring there is little else to his game. When he plays, his team look like they are playing with 10 men.

Italy need busy, creative and mobile forwards! Any two from:Cassano, Di Natale, Matri, Miccoli, would be good. And then you could have Giovinco or Diamanti in the trequartista position.
on the 5th May, 2012 at 2:38pm
Pazzo's had a bad season by his standards but these things happen - just look at Milito last year.

I don't think there's much difference between the two and this summer will be very important for Pazzini. Milito will be 33 when next season starts and with him earning around 5m a season and having one year left on his contract Inter will have to decide whether to cash in or not. If they do sell then Pazzo is his ready made replacement but if they keep Milito then Pazzini will have to leave.
on the 4th May, 2012 at 12:31pm
We are lacking strikers big this year with Rossi out and cassano 50 50 we need everyone we can get pazzini might be lacking form but id choose him over Osvaldo and borriello any day
on the 4th May, 2012 at 2:20am
Pazzo has been horrible this season but he did well in the CL. Coaches persisted with Milito in the league though and it has paid off for Diego. Only Leonardo could get the best out of Pazzo at Inter but that just shows that he had a good start.

I doubt Pazzo will go to the Euro but he must leave Inter. Cassano and him worked wonders at Sampdoria before Garrone sold them for ridiculously cheap prices. He should go to Napoli, one of the Roman clubs or even back to Fiorentina.
on the 3rd May, 2012 at 5:27am
Pazzo make us proud and save our time - leave Inter - It just ain't your level - you're only good for Fiorentina or Parma or Lazio or whatever... Hope Moratti starts spending again cuz with a dudes like you and Zarate we can't even secure an UEFA spot for 12-13 campaign... Euro 2012 ??? "Just forget about it".
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 9:44pm
Yes, why not Miccoli?? Has he not earned it? Is it because he plays for Palermo?
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 8:20pm
If there's one thing Italians are good at is defending & they got strikers to back that up. At Euro 2008, Italy entered the competition with the worst defenders since 1996. Now at Euro 2012, they enter the competition with no prolific strikers.

I will always remember the 2002 worldcup strike force of Totti, Del Piero, Vieri, Inzaghi and Montella... Stikers that other countries wished they had on their team.
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 8:17pm
Lay off Pazzini, great goal poacher though his overall game isn't the greatest. However he has suffered because Inter have been rubbish this season, especially with Raneri negative tactics he hardly had a sniff. And stop with this Italian joining Inter should be trashed talk, pure jealously one senses!
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 6:26pm
He should have moved in January - that usually springs him to life. In all seriousness, this is bad timing for Italy. While Pazzini is no world class player, he is very decent when in form. I can see Osvaldo pipping Pazzini and Matri to a spot in the squad. I think Italy will have problems in front of goal during the summer - unless someone has a Schillaci-like tournament.
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 6:20pm
He's always been overrated....end of story. No Euro's for him !!!
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 5:20pm
Pazzini should be in the Italy squad for the Euros. However given the form that Juve are in, I think Prendelli should adapt Juve's 3-5-2 formation. Buffon - Chellini - Bonucci - Barzagli taking their place in defense with Maggio on the RWB position and Abate as his deputy and Crisito or even De Ceglie on the opposite side. Midfield should be the golden pair of Pirlo and Marchisio with De rossi slotting in next to them and with Montolivio and Nocerino on standby. The attack Cassano -balo
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 3:50pm
Why is it so bad for an Italian to join Inter?
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 3:41pm
he's a dud. end of story. Any goal he does score only contributes to the facade that he can play.
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 3:39pm
Pazzini is a poacher, when a poacher is not able to put away chances that others worked to set up....you'll lose your place in the team! He is not good enough to place for any of the big teams..heard he might go to SS Lazio...he could be a sub for an aging Klose next season.
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 2:39pm
That's what he gets for not joining Milan. As stated, any Italian that joins Inter really deserves their career to be trashed. But I personally would be able to forgive Pazzini if he came to Milan. I'd rather have him than someone that can't stay fit for more than 14 minutes. *cough*Pato*cough*
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 2:12pm
I.M.O. Pazzo is a natural born scorer,but when a player of that quality stops scoring, it's more then obvious that you ain't gonna be in starting XI, neither for Inter and neither for National Team. He has his qualities - he is very dangerous when he's facing the goal, has a strong shot, is a good header, can win a foul "anytime he's about to receive a ball" etc etc, but his primary job is to Score - and that's what he hasn't done this SEASON-all those opportunities lost this season for Inter...
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 1:41pm
pazzini is rubbish anyway.any italian that joins inter milan deserves to have his career thrown in the garbage bin.
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 1:30pm
Strama is right. Those two cannot work together. Pazzini is to static when he has the ball in his feet, and both Millito and him need some good assists to score goals.

But Pazzini had numerous chances like that. He has been served with good assists on some crucial moments and couldn't score. Missing a shot head to head with a goalie is not acceptable for a striker that can't crate chances but only make use of them.
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 1:28pm
He's too good not be considered at all for the Euros. He is one of Italy's most natural goal scorers & As he has been in Prandelli's thoughts I imagine he will be picked for the provisional 30 man squad. You never know his form may have a change in fortune and he could force his way into the 23?

Maybe you should write a blog on Miccoli's exclusion from the national setup instead- now there's a player that has more than earned the right to play at the Euros. Unfortunately his face doesn't fit!
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 1:14pm
I know that it is fashionable, and almost mandatory, for Inter to be bashed and criticized on this site for almost everything that they do. However, Pazzini has nobody to blame but himself for his wretched form. For two-thirds of the season, he was given every opportunity and has failed miserably. He even failed to hit the goal on a crucial penalty against Udinese.

Frankly, he does not deserve much playing time. That must be earned, and he simply has not earned it this season.
on the 2nd May, 2012 at 12:59pm

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