Sunday March 24 2013
No Malta mauling

Malta lost 6-0 to Bulgaria this week and England won 8-0, but Susy Campanale doubts such a goalfest for Italy.

Some World Cup qualifiers can feel like glorified training sessions and complete wastes of time. For the perfect example, see England winning 8-0 in San Marino this week, or indeed any game San Marino have ever played. However, Italy traditionally struggle to find the motivation for this type of match and even when going in front don’t seem particularly intent on pushing for a second. This is why the trip to Malta on Tuesday evening will be tense rather than comical.

Fresh from a spectacular 2-2 draw with Brazil, the Azzurri are already thinking ahead to their club commitments with Serie A, the Champions League and Europa League looming large. Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo are suspended, though Claudio Marchisio should be available after tonsillitis ruled him out of the friendly in Geneva at the last minute. Malta lost 6-0 to Bulgaria on Friday evening, confirming their status as Group B minnows with four defeats in as many games, scoring one goal and conceding 12. Cesare Prandelli has a job on his hands to fire them up for this task.

While England fans were able to sit back and enjoy their Italian beer in what passed for stands around the San Marino pitch, Italy supporters know they rarely get to feel so relaxed. Watching the Nazionale isn’t a relaxing experience. Ever. This is the side that needed a last-gasp goal to beat the Faroe Islands 2-1 in a qualifier. Let’s also not forget that when they faced Malta in September it was only a 2-0 victory, which had been 1-0 until Federico Peluso popped up in injury time.

Yes, Italy have beaten Malta in all five of their previous encounters, netting 17 goals with just two in reply. However, they have only ever scored a maximum of two goals on Maltese soil, winning 2-1 in December 1992 and 2-0 in December 1986. It may not be Brazil, but Malta are no training session either. Attitude will be absolutely crucial and those of us with years of experience watching the Azzurri will know it is often their worst problem. So will Malta Coach Pietro Ghedin, a former Italy assistant manager under Cesare Maldini, Dino Zoff and Giovanni Trapattoni.

So by all means get the drinks in for the game, but be prepared to spill some occasionally as you mutter insults at the TV.

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Have your say...
This is always the mentality of Italian teams throughout history. Why expend effort scoring a ton of goals, save their energy for another day. Italian teams always struggle against the weaker sides and raise their game for the big matches.
on the 29th March, 2013 at 3:13pm
Cassano would have been great in tonights game. Missed chiellini and really want roncaglia. Best news today de sanctis to retire, maybe get consigli in squad now, as long as it isnt viviano. Super mario what a player. We played great with brazil yet poor tonight. We need to up our game against the weaker teams, its not good enough.
on the 26th March, 2013 at 10:23pm
A wins a win. To have only beaten malta 2-0 in both games is a joke. We just cant put teams to the sword, the tempo was low and lacked intensity unlike brazil game. Again ran to many risks at the back, lucky not to concede. I just wish we scored more goals and be more clinical.
on the 26th March, 2013 at 10:14pm
Am i the only one who would like to see Totti play in the next qualifier or friendly?
on the 26th March, 2013 at 4:48pm
In the end, beating minnows by large scorelines has little to do with respect and more to do with ego. You use these types of games to practice possesion, patience and passing. These things are very important in large tournaments. 2-0 will be the probable result.
on the 26th March, 2013 at 2:38pm
susy, you silly girl. don't even compare england and italy. england are the champions of mediocrity excelling against minnows. do you remember how england did against italy in the euro? they brought the biggest bus they could find, parked it and got pummeled. i should know, i'm an england fan! and as for spain, do they really want to play this italy? the italy they played in the euro final was two men down. spain has beaten italy once in a hundred years. do they really want to play italy again?
on the 26th March, 2013 at 1:06pm
It won't be a walk in the park but Italy will get the 3 points. However, a word of advice, Balotelli watch out! Mark my words. Tonight its going to be MALTA supporters VS Balotelli.
on the 26th March, 2013 at 8:36am
Italy will annihilate Malta. It will be a goal fest. The mentality of this team is different as they have adapted very well to the modern game.
on the 25th March, 2013 at 5:46pm
Don't want a lob sided scoreline to be honest. 1 or 2 nil will sit fine with me. Almost half this team have a huge match against the prescritti on Saturday followed by bayern a week tomorrow. Preserve the energy boys. It's only Malta.
on the 25th March, 2013 at 11:07am
No Victor, but I would like to Giovinco given an opportunity to play on the left, at some point during the game. He was excellent last season for Parma, & if I remember correctly, Donadoni was using a 433, with the atomic ant on the left.
on the 25th March, 2013 at 9:44am
Italy will win easy, think it could be a 4-0, but like most have said Italy only need to win the game that's all that matters. I like the look of playing the 4-3-3 with Cerci, Balo and SES, Perhaps this game may give a chance for playing time for some players with lesser experience things look good at the moment for Italy,
on the 25th March, 2013 at 9:36am

It really grinds me reading some of your posts. First of all, bit harsh telling Viktor to follow his own national team, Mustafaa isn't exactly an Italian name, now is it? Secondly, Giovinco does not deserve a call up at this current moment in time, whereas ElSha has been a revelation in Serie A. I've never seen a striker help out the defence as much as him. And thirdly, it really bothers me how you call yourself a Juve fan, you couldn't be more out of touch if you tried.
on the 25th March, 2013 at 7:24am
Italy should be ruthless. Learn to score goals. Oh wait let's just play defense like we did in the Euro final against Spain. This squad lacks grinta. They will struggle to score 3 goals...and saying your not motivated is no excuse. If your not motivated for your country, decline to play...and that includes the coach.
on the 25th March, 2013 at 2:03am

Would rather have gio than SES???
You need to catch up fella. SES not only has been on a different level completely than Gio, he also partners Balo at club level.
Quit calling people son ya goof
on the 24th March, 2013 at 9:10pm
No need for a goal fest. All is needed is a win. Beating San Marino 8-0 hasn't made England look good. Italy lost their last 3 friendlies before they went to the Euros and look how well they did. We play for results.
on the 24th March, 2013 at 8:22pm
Claudio you make a great point about conserving energy! Fitness is an area where we have to improve. Look at how fresh the Spanish were in the final compared to us?! Remember, Juve were not in the CL last season, so many of Italy's players played considerably less games than the Spaniards. Factor in Spain's pressing game, & it is clear that they have much fitter players than us, or they have better recovery protocols?!
on the 24th March, 2013 at 2:43pm
England only one 8nil because they put a full squad on against what be descrided has first round fa cup team, for us italy will field a youngsters mixed with experiences players. which is they way to do, give the some youngsters a chance to shine and show what they can do
on the 24th March, 2013 at 1:34pm
I would like to see us being more ruthless. In some ways, you could argue that by playing with the handbrake on, you are also showing your opponents disrespect. I would like to see the 433 again, as Malta will look to keep things tight, & this system can stretch them. I would also like to see Giovinco play on the left of the trident because I feel that this is his best position. 352 doesn't seem to get the best out of him. Maybe it is the congestion that comes with playing through the middle?!
on the 24th March, 2013 at 11:50am
I don't see the point of trashing minnows in qualifying. It doesn't make sense...
on the 24th March, 2013 at 10:52am
I don't believe there's anything wrong with beating a team by 2 goals, I mean a wins a win, why must you humiliate the opposing team? Teams only do that to smaller teams because they can't do it against the big boy i.e England v San Marino.
It's about showing the opposition Respect.
on the 24th March, 2013 at 10:37am
Italians have always saved their legs for the tournament. There is no glory beating teams 4-0 in the qualifying and doing nothing in a world cup. the key is to win and give youngsters the experience. For me Prandelli is a breath of fresh air as he gives youngsters a go. something the Italians do not do especially when winning a world cup. i would have liked to seen verrati and insigne been given more of a go but there still is another year. We need a quality winger and another goalscorer.
on the 24th March, 2013 at 10:06am
The Azzurri should aim for a 2-0 or 3-0 lead at half-time and then rest on their laurels. We shouldn't expect 5-0 blow-out like in 2010 against the Faroe Islands. The Brazil game meant more even though there were no points involved.

Prandelli should start Cerci in a 4-3-3. No point in using Giac in a 4-3-1-2. Malta will be defensive and compact, making the trequartista role useless.

Since we are playing a minnow like Malta, De Sciglio should get another chance too.
on the 24th March, 2013 at 9:33am
Italy need to start showing respect after being up 4-0 in any game, not 1-0
on the 24th March, 2013 at 9:04am
Spot on article. We need to be ruthless and score lots of goals. An early goal and we can go on and score a lot. Attitude is everything. We are italy, there is no excuses we need to smash these teams. Tense evenings against such dire opposition arent exceptable. It annoys we how other teams hammer these kind of teams yet we never do. Time to change.
on the 24th March, 2013 at 8:59am
Italia very rarely stick 5 or more past opponents. A wins a win and teams like Malta will always lift their match against The Azurri. Keep giving many of the youngsters a chance and after the Brazil game everything looks good for the Azurri to build on. Forza Italia.
on the 24th March, 2013 at 7:59am
Thats the one thing I hate about the azzurri because we have the power to beat Malta and San Marino 10-0 but never do! When was the last time we won a game 5/6 nothing
on the 24th March, 2013 at 6:54am
isnt it italian mentality to not be involved in a goal fest...for eg if they are leading 3-0 in the first half ..they stop playing out of respect to their opponent or this a lot ...a reason why we so few routs in the serie a
on the 24th March, 2013 at 6:35am
Italy do not do more than is whats necessary, and what is wrong with that?
People go on and on about holland or germany and their 6 or 7 nil demolitions of minows, but when it comes to bigger games, what happens? Just cause Germany beats a side by 5 goals and Italy plays the same team and beats the 2-0, doesnt mean Germany will beat italy 3-0.

This will be confirmed WHEN Juventus beat Bayern Munich.
on the 24th March, 2013 at 6:06am

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