Thursday June 13 2013
Confederations Cup concerns

Italy drew 2-2 with Haiti in midweek and Giancarlo Rinaldi has warned of more disappointment during the Confederations Cup.

I think I celebrated when the news was confirmed. Finishing runners-up at the European Championships would mean Italy would get another crack at the Confederations Cup. But now, as the tournament looms, I'm starting to wonder if my joy was a little bit misplaced.

It is always nice, of course, to test yourself against some of the very best teams in the world. However, a look at the Azzurri of late does not suggest they are in the finest form going into the event. And their previous participation four years ago was a total nightmare.

Despite Cesare Prandelli's best attempts, Italy seem to remain indifferent to these friendly encounters. In addition, many of their number look jaded or demotivated after lengthy and demanding seasons. The omens are not particularly good.

Sometimes that is just the incentive La Nazionale needs to defy the odds. In the face of adversity, they have given some of their finest displays. But, try as I might to convince myself, I struggle to see that happening in Brazil.

The Juve-Milan block is a grand concept but it must be hard to gee those players up for this FIFA party. The Bianconeri gave their all to clinch another Scudetto while the Rossoneri had a to-the-wire fight for a last Champions League place. Now you are asking them to gear up again for another battle without any time to recharge their batteries.

And, in typical Italian analysis, what is to be gained by doing well at the Confederations Cup anyway? Certainly the last time around their flop in South Africa was a pretty fair warning of how they would perform in the World Cup 12 months later. But even a set of smashing results this time around would be no guarantee of glory in 2014, assuming the Azzurri translate their current group lead into qualification.

Of course, it is probably a profitable time for Prandelli in terms of getting to know his troops. He gets precious little "hands-on" experience with his players nowadays and that, at least, will be welcome. Perhaps he will learn some more about who is ready for inclusion in his squad next year and who is not.

But, from a supporters point of view, I wouldn't expect very much. Recent friendly displays have been pretty much universally underwhelming, often relying on individual excellence to turn around lukewarm team performances. It is hard to think that will change in South America.

That is why I will be watching with my emotions in check as the games unfold. I have faith that the Azzurri can do well when the World Cup rolls around, but much less so in this warm-up competition. I'll be happy to be proved wrong but, for now, I'm thinking that taking part in the Confederations Cup was not the blessing I first thought it would be.

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Have your say...
Guys, don't worry too much! Prandelli has great players at his disposal. The problem is that he is determined to field out the less skillful ones. I repeat, "Marchisio should not start for la Nazionale!!!!! Aquilani should play instead. He had a great season and possesses great ball control.
on the 16th June, 2013 at 3:15pm
In my stupidity i have appeared to question Prandelli!

Pre world cup 2010, fans on this blog were accused of being stupid for questioning Lippi.............

I believe it is my right and indeed my duty as an Italian to argue my point. Especially when the team that represents us plays poorly or is mis-managed.

I would also like to add that it is fairly stupid to be happy with current team choices, performances and results.

(I was, however, stupid to omit G. Rossi from my list!)
on the 15th June, 2013 at 8:03pm
anyone lobbying for totti to go to brazil is 100% wrong! i love totti, to me, totti is a champion and the greatest italian player of all time. BUT, he will not go, nor should he be on the squad to brazil. because, we all know, if totti doesn't play to our expectations, or italy loses or crashes out, everyone will blame it on him. regardless, he has had his time, and won a world cup. that was the past. now, prandelli will figure it out with the quality players he has at his disposal.
on the 15th June, 2013 at 1:37am
Cigarini is better than Verratti. He deserves Italy
on the 14th June, 2013 at 8:20pm
Italy will do well in this competition. I see them possibly even winning it because they already played very well against Brazil and have an outstanding attack in Balotelli and El Sharawy. Pirlo can still create and others like Cerci have emerged as viable alternatives. On the contrary to others here I believe the squad is deep as evidenced by their solid display against Haiti, until the end, scoring 2 goals. Cech republic has historically always given Italy problems.
on the 14th June, 2013 at 8:10pm
Totti needs to come back and provide some creative outlets for the national team. Totti is far better than sub par strikers like Giovinco etc!
on the 14th June, 2013 at 7:40pm
I'm actually astonished at how many idiotic people on here are criticizing Cesare Prandelli. This is the guy that took over the mess that Lippi left us with and took us to the final of Euro 2012. Whether this tourney gets you excted or not it provides more top level competition for this side to face and the fact he has taken some interesting young talent leaves a pool of players with international experience available to come back here next summer.
on the 14th June, 2013 at 6:52pm
Many complain here about the coaches' changes in line-ups, tactics, player positions, etc.

Change is the only constant in life. As an example, nothing that worked against Spain in the group stage at the Euros worked in the final.

We should have a little more respect towards the coaches' decisions. They know their players not only on professional but personal level as well, day in, day out, whereas the closest we get to them is the TV or the 5th row up in the stands if we can afford it :)
on the 14th June, 2013 at 6:52pm
Giancarlo I think there should be some motivation if the team does well or wins the cup most of the players guarantee themselves a spot for next year. There are clearly players waiting in the wings like Cassano, Di Natale, Pazzini, Insigne, Veratti, Osvaldo, Rossi, Di Sceglie, Ranocchia, Ogbonna, Saponara, Gabbiadini, Destro, and finally Totti.

If the Azzurrini win the euro I think Insigne and Verrati may guarantee their spot as well. Forzanapoli surprised you're down on Insigne.
on the 14th June, 2013 at 6:30pm
This article fails to mention the glaring problem with the Juve-Milan connection. THE PLAYERS SIMPLY ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO COMBAT THE MODERN GAME!

We need players with excitement, mobility, technical skills. Gilardino, Giovinco, Diamanti, Montolivo, Marchisio, Abate and others do not possess the right skills for the modern international game!

we are handicapped before the games even start! Why is noone realizing this! Every game played with Marchisio is playing one man down!
on the 14th June, 2013 at 6:15pm
So I understand everyone's concern, but the euros made me feel a little better. And to be honest, I was more concerned with lippi in this position last time then prandelli. I'm not ruling out a good run next year. I'm ruling out the confederations cup because Italians generally feel it is a bogus cup that is wasting players time if only to get a couple of consecutive exhibition-like games in. A game without points is a pointless game.
on the 14th June, 2013 at 11:39am
Unfortunately I have lost faith in CP. After 1 major tournament and 3/4 of WC qualification campaign Italy seem to have more issues than solutions. So I can't see Italy qualifying from the group in the CC and them doing well in the WC. I'm all for a team having options and a plan B but CP doesn't even have a plan A yet. He keeps changing tactics and player line ups, and as many have said he doesn't seem to learn from his past mistakes.
on the 14th June, 2013 at 10:24am
NIC, the great thing about De Rossi in that position, (in addition to his outstanding anticipation & positioning), is that it gives Italy another creative outlet from deep. With Pirlo getting marked & pressed, De Rossi can step out of the back & instigate play. You were right when you said it that problem isn't a lack of quality, but more to do with chemistry, tactics, & hunger.
on the 14th June, 2013 at 10:21am
Great point TardelliR82! Prandelli has made us far too reliant on Pirlo. Verratti should have got more minutes under his belt for Italy this season. Did Pirlo really have to play in most of our friendlies and against the likes of Malta. What compounds this is that Pirlo was playing in the midst of a tough club schedule. It doesn't make sense to me, we all know what Pirlo is about. If the maestro is burnt-out then Prandelli has no one to blame but himself.
on the 14th June, 2013 at 8:46am
Bring back totti 12 goals this season and 14 assists hes still got it forget that hes old lol
Get rod of chielini hes lost us alot of tournaments now euro 08 wc 10 and euro 2012
And why bring ranocchia when he was inters worst defender of the season and in years
I say no to: chielini ranocchia giovinco

Bring back the 4 3 1 2 formation

De Sciglio/abate
De rossi
Giladino/ El S
on the 14th June, 2013 at 7:39am
Italy enter the this summers tournament toping a group that not the hardest ever but does contain good sides. The Czech match was poor and the result against Haiti was well lets just say laughable, but I am looking forward to watching The Auzurri in a competition that if they do not win I will not be judging them to harshly. Finally in my life time I would rather have had our success than Spain & Germany so please compare correctly. Spain have only been successful recently. Forza Italia
on the 14th June, 2013 at 7:26am
Doom and gloom, but not without precedent. Prandelli has wasted many opportunities to test out a Pirlo-less plan B but this is where we are falling down. Bring him on late 2nd half when he is fresh.

Fitness and good seasons pending

starting 11 for WC 2014 4-3-1-2/4-3-3

De Sciglio
De Rossi

on the 13th June, 2013 at 8:44pm
giancarlo, 'Daniel Giambrone' brought up a great point. a point that i believe 100% in because we saw it, and it worked amazingly! used against a quality team too (spain)! play a 3-5-2, using de rossi as a play making center defense. he was mobile, using short & long passes. prandelli and de rossi revolutionized that position/role. a play making center back. amazing job he did that game. de rossi made the ALL-EURO TEAM, in my opinion, mainly because of that showing. daniele is amazing regardless
on the 13th June, 2013 at 6:31pm
This team the chance to win but they need to stick to the 442 formation. I don't know why Prandelli is experimenting with other formations, this is the formation that nearly beat Spain in the opening round of last years Euro. He should have stuck with that. Also Buffon is right about overconfidence against Haiti. Hopefully they have the sense to learn from that. Hoping Mario comes out to play too. For 2014,just remember the name Veratti. 442 Cesare per piacere..
on the 13th June, 2013 at 4:20pm
Sam, many of Prandelli's decisions concern me. He doesn't seem to learn from his previous defeats, (Russia & Spain), & persists with what has previously gone wrong, (Chiellini at LB & Monty as the trequartista). Had it not been for Buffon, the Czech game could have been another Spanish style defeat. Pirlo & De Rossi are now very immobile & give our midfield a static look. I'd use De Rossi as a sweeper, Sammer style; remember his great performance vs Spain in the group game. 352 another try?
on the 13th June, 2013 at 3:33pm
I will be very surprised if Italy do well in this competition? The squad just isn't good enough, too many average players as back up to the starting XI plus fitness issues. I'm putting it down as a blessing in disguise as Prandelli will finally see the deadwood within the squad and bring in the fresh blood from the U21's for next Summer.
on the 13th June, 2013 at 3:13pm
Completely agree Marc F.
All major tournaments come after lengthy and demanding seasons for everybody not just Italy.

I understand these fine athletes hone their bodies and performance to near perfection and at that level very small details could make a huge difference but this "oh, we're tired" crap is just ... well, crap.

Clubs that are involved in more matches/competitions are usually the elite that have the talent, depth and resources to deal with fatigue if it becomes an issue.
on the 13th June, 2013 at 3:06pm
ForzaNapoli, Insigne is already 22 & won't be eligible for the under 21's next season. Also going on Mangia's comments, Insigne sounds like he has an excellent & strong character, so I don't think that he will crack under the pressure. Don't forget his debut against Malta last year, he was the only positive in an another drab Italy performance. I expect him to flourish under Rafa next season and get much more playing time, playing in his favoured position.
on the 13th June, 2013 at 3:04pm
Don't worry people...before the euros Italy lost 3-0 to Russia!! Then still went on to the all they need to do is get through then your in the semi and anything can happen the USA got to the last final!
on the 13th June, 2013 at 2:57pm
I am sick & tired of the fatigue excuse, or that we are always below par in post/pre season fixtures. If motivation is a problem, then Prandelli should call up the players that would give their right arm to play for Italy. The Spanish & German players do not use this lame excuse, yet their players have had much tougher schedules. I have many concerns going into this cup, my primary one being Gilardino being the only back up for Balotelli.
on the 13th June, 2013 at 2:52pm
giancarlo, i'm having the same thoughts as you. italy's failure to impress, or worst, the moments of disappointment come not because of the lack of quality. not fatigue. i think the right mix of playing style and tactics seem to be the underlying issue most the time. how do any of the player click & gel. chemistry, movements. all very important. prandelli must find a way to get this, and consistently too. prandelli is a quality manager, but now time is approaching for him to make things work.
on the 13th June, 2013 at 2:34pm
We will struggle at the confeds cup probably roughly get out of the group stages and then it's over the writing is on the wall. it could be a crazy blessing for us cause usually you learn after making mistake and hopefully Prandelli sees the mistakes he is making and straightens them out after the tournament. The only thing that worries me is that he has made mistakes in the past and never fixed them so idk will see what he does. But if its the same old story he should be looking at the hot seat
on the 13th June, 2013 at 2:11pm
I am very concerned with the atmosphere around the Azzurri. Prandelli is saying the players are tired but keep in mind the WC next year will be held in the same month (right after the league season is over). For the past decade, September was the month blamed for underperforming Azzurri.The usual excuse is lack of game sharpness & now we are hearing about fatigue in June. If June is a bad month how could this team exceeds eveybody's expectation in last year's Euro?
on the 13th June, 2013 at 1:51pm
More importantly...did the bresaola get released from customs?
on the 13th June, 2013 at 1:36pm
Not sure i buy the whole tired after a lengthy season excuse. Other nations have players that play lengthy seasons as well.

Italy just don't care unless it's the World Cup or Euros.
on the 13th June, 2013 at 1:26pm

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