Saturday June 2 2012
Italy, expect the worst

The Azzurri’s preparations for Euro 2012 and the defeat to Russia have put Susy Campanale in a pessimistic mood.

Cesare Prandelli must be wondering what he’s done to deserve all this. Giuseppe Rossi snaps the same knee ligament twice in six months, Antonio Cassano is barely back after heart surgery, a friendly scrapped due to an earthquake, Domenico Criscito dropped following a frankly over-zealous police dawn raid on the Coverciano training ground and the betting scandal threatening to envelop more of his Italy squad. At this rate, Prime Minister Mario Monti’s suggestion football stop for two years might seem like a blessed relief to the Italy Coach. The 3-0 defeat to Russia was just the icing on a really foul-tasting cake.

It feels as if Italy are going to Euro 2012 with the same state of mind as someone who promised to attend a party and now have the flu: they’d rather not bother, but they have to make an appearance. The media have the same approach, which is why this morning the Azzurri match was not the top story on two out of the three sports papers. The crowd in Zurich cheered wildly at the early stages of the game with the kind of enthusiasm that a) proved they weren’t living in Italy and b) was bound to result in a horrible let-down.

It wasn’t always this way. Prandelli’s era had shown us great hope and faith for the future, bringing in a new and more attacking style of football that made it clear to Marcello Lippi that the 2006 squad wasn’t going to last forever. Mario Balotelli and Cassano were welcomed in as integral elements rather than risky bets. Sadly, a chaotic set of circumstances meant last night was the first time since August 2010 that those two forwards were able to play together. It’s really no way to prepare for a tournament.

Everyone was concerned by the choice of strikers, especially as Italy have failed to score in three consecutive friendly defeats, but the game with Russia highlighted there are far more pressing issues. The midfield ought to be solid as rock with Andrea Pirlo flanked by Claudio Marchisio and Daniele De Rossi. Riccardo Montolivo is the weak link – how many times have we said that at club and international level? The truly disconcerting element is in defence. Christian Maggio had by his own admission a total nightmare in Zurich and Leonardo Bonucci wasn’t much better. It remains a mystery to me how Andrea Barzagli is anywhere near the Nazionale and Federico Balzaretti is apparently there through lack of alternatives. This is the rock-solid defence we aimed to face Spain with?

We have to learn from what the Serie A season has shown us, which is the 3-5-2 adopted by Juventus. Most of the players are accustomed to it in one way or another, it’ll allow the midfield to provide more of a filter, so Maggio and Balzaretti can push forward. Giorgio Chiellini is sorely needed, but that goes without saying, just as Gigi Buffon needs to be wrapped in cotton wool for fear of having to play Morgan De Sanctis.

Let us prepare for Euro 2012 with the philosophy of the professional pessimist: anything short of total disaster is to be considered a bonus. 

Have your say...
well, susy, you were totally wrong, and you should have learned by your latest post that the horse you're betting on has english legs. lol. back to the drawing board, wat?
on the 12th June, 2012 at 2:52pm

Just curious, where do you find track record in assist? I think your making up numbers that's all..
on the 5th June, 2012 at 5:00pm

Not going to discuss this more. Your too biased. Ask anyone, Thiago Silva today is of higher demand then Chiellini. Simple as that.

Chiellini is great, Thiago Silva is greater
on the 5th June, 2012 at 4:26pm

This is my last post in regard of the discussion bout Thiago Silva vs Chiellini.
Soft boy Thiago Silva? Really, like i said x amount of times. Chiellini is great but any common sane person would pick Thiago Silva above Chiellini. That's a given. I'm not being biased it's just common knowledge.
on the 5th June, 2012 at 4:08pm
Suzy, you're comments regarding Barzagli are so wrong! Only Chiellini, Silva, Hummels, & Kompany have played as well as the Juve man. Had he been wearing a black and red shirt, would you have said the same thing? I have been reading your blogs, in magazines and on this website, for many years. You often talk with common sense and objectivity.
on the 5th June, 2012 at 1:18pm
Viktor must be stupid if he thinks thiago silva is way better then chiellini youve obviously never watched chiellini play, every striker whose ever played him has said they hate going up against him, even your little soft boy thiago silvas teamate ibrahimovic said he was the best in the world and hes obviosly played with both of them
on the 5th June, 2012 at 6:04am
@Adam +100000000, you hit the nail on the head my friend
on the 4th June, 2012 at 10:30pm
Forza Italia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on the 4th June, 2012 at 9:22pm
This calamitous display by Italy does not fill me with hope for the Euros. We couldn't score despite creating lots of opportunities yet again and our defending was atrocious. Now we lose one of our best defenders in Barzagli and the inept Ranocchia is likely to be his replacement. I think Prandelli should adopt 3-5-2 as 4-3-1-2 leaves our defence far too exposed. As for Montolivo he should be dispensed with immediately,he isn't there on ability rather Prandelli's blind faith,Giovinco in instead
on the 4th June, 2012 at 9:20pm
nocerino better than marchisio? nocerino scored 10 goals while marchisio scored 9; marchisio had 4 assists while nocerino had 1. if you take goals into account you also have to take assists into account and marchisio comes out on top. not to mention, marchisio has much better dribbling skills and more creativity than nocerino. and you just said that silva is less than chiellini. and fyi, arsenal, city, MU, RM, Munich, Chelsea have all asked for chiellini.
on the 4th June, 2012 at 8:56pm
Donato. Last August was exactly that- almost a year ago. Since then look at the results. reality check my friend. The National team apart from an easy group where we hardly blasted the goals in have done very little since about 2008. So we ignore what happened against Russia in a friendly and base it all on what happened against Spain in a friendly last August ???
on the 4th June, 2012 at 7:46pm
Great! Barzagli and Balotelli could potentially be out of the Euros! Barzagli's withdrawal will see that the much sought after 3-5-2 will be definitely be scrapped (But I would still like it to be deployed)! So where does that leave the Azzurri? 4-4-2? 4-2-3-1? Maybe a return to Lippi's 4-4-1-1 from 2006? Or keep faith in the 4-3-1-2/4-3-3? I don't know? It's all turned into a big mess! :-(
on the 4th June, 2012 at 7:05pm
Serie A is a joke league, corrupt and overrated. That sums up Italy's chances this tournament unless Juventus can manage to fix the Euro like they do the league every year.

Who knows, maybe Spain will have a goal disallowed that crossed the line by 1 meter!
on the 4th June, 2012 at 6:50pm
Are saying this team has no chance based on a friendly against Russia?
Italy dominated against Uruguay & USA, unlucky.
Did you watch the Spain-Italy friendly last August?
on the 4th June, 2012 at 6:46pm
Ok I'm reading reports of Giaccherini playing in a 3-5-2! Why? and where do they plan to play him? I can only imagine he'll play full back (if he's gonna be used in midfield, surely Nocerino and Motta will be ahead of him you'd think?) but at whose expense? Balzaretti did enough to show he'll be selected for the Spain game, so that will suggest replacing Maggio after his poor display. But Giaccherini is left sided so surely Abate would be a better option to replace Maggio in such a formation?
on the 4th June, 2012 at 10:15am
Anyone who can attempt to pass of as professional journalism a line such as
'It remains a mystery to me how Andrea Barzagli is anywhere near the Nazionale..'
doesn't warrant any lengthy discussion or debate, for they clearly have an incredibly feeble understanding of the league they are allegedly covering. Barzagli, for your information, was a consistently strong part of the best defence in not only Italy, but also of the top european leagues.
on the 4th June, 2012 at 2:12am
We lost a friendly? Big surprise. I am not saying we'll win the Euro but let's not get overly tragic at this stage.
on the 4th June, 2012 at 12:39am

I've worked within finance for the last couple of years. I normally believe on market value. Market value is based on DEMAND. The demand for Thiago Silva is HIGHER then Chiellini, that my friend is a FACT.

In general, the estimate value of a player is over priced, agreed, but it often goes in accordance with their performance. Hence, a player with higher price tag, is in general NOT always but more often considered better AND worth more. In this case Thiago Silva < Chiellini.
on the 4th June, 2012 at 12:23am

Well, edited my reply for no specific reason. I'm not that nice and I really wanted you to read what I wrote so you can educate yourself.

And what I meant by who, was you. So you, childy, don't count to me, or to anybody in this blog.

And yet again, Nocerino is better than Marchisio because he score more! Ha, what a logic !

So answer me,
Pepe is better than Cannavaro, Nesta and Maldini because he cost Real Madrid more than $30 Millions ?

According to you, YES !
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 10:34pm

Noccerino scored more goals last and we'll get more game time during the ec2013
just wait and see. Noccerino reminds me of gattuso but with better feeta.So you think chiellini and thiago silva had same market value? You really think so?

Regards of your question bout who; yes, i trust they have more knowledge then you
, in overall knowledge bout football defiantly yes
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 9:11pm
Donato and the rest---reality will smack you in the face Sunday night.
There's believeing in your team and there's blind stupidity.
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 8:48pm
we have a good team, not the best in the tournament but i think it all hinges on how we are prepared mentally and physically if we are ok in those areas we will have a goood euros (semi's at least)if not we wont get past the group stages. i think 3-5-2 is the way to go, its best suited to the players. we all know we can play better than we did against russia we are not that poor lets hope they get it together and give us something to cheer about for italian football at the minute. FORZA ITALIA!!
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 6:46pm
@viktor, I forgot to mention something. Marchisio, an average player ha ? The next thing you're gonna say is that Nocerino is better than Marchisio. 
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 5:00pm
@viktor Teams asked for Giorgio? Real Madrid & Man City to name few. "they have WAY more experience then you ", who? You? 
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 4:56pm
What a shame Miccoli and Qualgliarella aren't in the team- Italy have a habit of excluding their best players- thinking back to Roberto Baggio, the criminally neglected Marco Simone, and Gianluca Vialli etc..

To think what might have been..

Had Quagliarella been introduced earlier in the 2010 WC Italy may have progressed further but hey ho. I know Italy seem to do well every six years but even I'm hard pressed to expect them to win it or even come close although I'd love to be proved wrong..
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 4:25pm
Whats wrong with u people,I know its a bad defeat but its only a friendly.I got very high hopes if we change to 3-5-2,it cant go wrong. Best keeper in the world, the solid 3 of Juve defendig,Pirlo, holding mid Im not so convinced now with De Rossi so Nocerino can b very good,Marchisio, to wings Maggio and Balz.(or Abate + Giaccherini), Baloteli looked good,Di Natale(good subs with Giovinco and Diamanti if we need to b more attaching in mid). Im sure will get good results,(draw with Spain).
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 4:05pm
Really? The loss to Russia was a result of some silly defensive errors. Italy has an excellent team with the potential to win the euro. That leaves only a question of how to organize the players and make them work together. And italy rarely is impressive in friendlies. They do well in the more important games. I don't see why everyone is already counting them out.
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 3:50pm
If im correct Italy before the 2006 world cup were completly untouchable in friendlies before hand..beat holland 4-1 and germany 4-1 i think, they didnt loose to USA and Russia for god sakes!, Italy played better and had goal scorers in 2006, nopw Italy lack a number 9 who will get 4/5 goals in a tournement and rely on balotelli and cassano both number 10's Di Natalie should play from the off why not he scored more than anyone in the squad.. goals win games not passes.
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 3:27pm
@ Mohammed and Mustafa

Here's a fairly up to date link with comments by a "fairly" (sarcasm) good coach

Now please. Kneel.
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 3:22pm

Listen, your too biased, ignorant and childish. They have WAY more experience then you and work with this for a living. Do you honestly think that Thiago Silva has only been target by PSG?. Man U, Barca, Real and City has ALL inquiries about Thiago SIlva. How many team has requested pricing in Chiellini?

Chiellini is an amazing def but not as good as Thiago Silva. Ask ANYONE.
on the 3rd June, 2012 at 3:16pm

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