Sunday June 23 2013
Not all bad with Brazil

Italy were defeated 4-2 by the Seleçao, but Susy Campanale saw plenty of positives in Salvador de Bahia.

If nothing else, at least this Confederations Cup campaign can silence those armchair pundits who still believe Catenaccio exists in Italian football. Conceding eight goals in three group games – and scoring just as many – is the antithesis of ‘go 1-0 up and shut up shop’ clichés. At times the Azzurri played football every bit as spectacular as the Seleçao, complete with Mario Balotelli’s scorpion back-heel flick to set up Emanuele Giaccherini’s goal. As always, what they lack is consistency, but there were flashes of something truly wonderful and they can build on that.

Perhaps Cesare Prandelli ought to surreptitiously move all the clocks so the team think a game is going to start an hour earlier. It might finally get the players to wake up some time before the 30th minute of a match. I’m so tired of seeing Italy start with what looks like a hangover, stumbling around at half-speed and passing the ball straight to their opponents. The side always picks up in the second half for a rousing performance, so the problem has to be psychological. I’ve never seen so many misplaced passes in such a short amount of time, so it was no wonder Italy couldn’t get out of their own half in those early stages. You could also blame Prandelli for these poor starts, as his initial tactical choices rarely prove correct and adjustments contribute to the team settling in during the game.

There were plenty of positives to enjoy in Salvador de Bahia. A team without Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi still managed to put Brazil under sustained pressure and a 3-3 draw would’ve been a more fitting result. Mattia De Sciglio is growing in confidence at his tender age and even Christian Maggio put in a half-decent performance as a right-back. Antonio Candreva and Giaccherini may not be glamorous figures, but they are very handy utility players when called upon. Was finding strength in depth and gaining international experience not the reason for playing in this warm-up tournament?

Much of the criticism from fans and media has been aimed at Gianluigi Buffon after these three Confederations Cup games. People are bandying around phrases like ‘he’s past it’ or ‘it’s time for a younger goalkeeper.’ I shan’t stand for it. Buffon remains the best goalie in Italy and any disappointment with recent performances is just a reflection of how much he has spoilt us over the years. We cannot always expect Gigi to come to the rescue with miraculous saves, so it’s about time the rest of the team step up and give him some protection. It’s true he has started parrying a few too many shots into danger zones, but I am confident he will watch these videos and work on that weakness in training. Let’s not start writing his career obituary yet!

There are good things in this 4-2 defeat to Brazil. Prandelli, his men and the fans must focus on the positive and build on promising foundations rather than get out the wrecking ball. 

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Have your say...
There is ony one positve thats come out of this conferdertion cup for italy is that prandelli is not the man for the job lets get some else in that will rebuild the defence and organisation back on the field and choose the right players please while there is still time for the wc
on the 24th June, 2013 at 10:35pm
23 man squad for WC14 assuming everyone is fit, and carries on growing as a player

Marchetti, Sirigu, Buffon (Although starting to look shaky)

Criscito, De Sceglio, Abate, Santon

Bonnuci, Chiellini, Ogbonna, Barzagli

De Rossi, Veratti, Pirlo, Montolivio, Marchisio, Florenzi, Giac

Balo, El Sha, Insigne, Destro, Rossi

There's enough flexibility to play a variety of formations and a good mixture of youth and experience. Plus there's even a bit of pace which is normally unheard of for Italy!
on the 24th June, 2013 at 10:25pm
italy need to change from the defensive game they play i agree with this but not in favour of being to open for expansive football they concede way to much,the game they have to adopt is possession football which lets face it they are rubbish at .spain defensively are not the best but you need the ball to score and they keep it from anyone this is the problem.nigeria did well but they have one thing that italy have none of and that is pace lol ive never seen a team so slow in all my life
on the 24th June, 2013 at 9:58pm
Please not Gilardino against Spain.Giovinco partner El sharraway. Both with pace and trouble the Spanish defence . I HOPE!
on the 24th June, 2013 at 9:42pm
Marchisio is not a International player! He is no better than an average player who weakens Juventus and the national team wherever he plays. He has now played more games for Juventus than Zidane, Roberto Baggio, Deschamps, Ravanelli and Vialli, true legends who's place in Juventus history is sealed. Marchisio does not belong in this company and he does not belong in next season's midfield. Pirlo, Pogba and Vidal are untouchable and will be more dominant without the weak link than is Marchisio.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 9:30pm
Imagine someone alluding to Balotelli backheel assit as justification for all this disorganization and rubbish play. Let Italy stick to co-ordinated and organized style of play. At the end of the day, the trophies and silverware will do more talking than your style of play. Grazie
on the 24th June, 2013 at 6:27pm
What is not all bad with Brazil???? Wat silly attacking football?? Lets stop trying to justify rubbish. Prandelli is on the verge of destroying italy's chances at 2014 world cup. The players are used to the Italian way of playing at their clubsides and in past national engagements as well. This whole scheme of leaving gaps and trying to attack is rubbish and wont lead to silverware anytime soon. Let Prandelli stick to a co-ordinated and organized approach Italy is renowned for.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 6:19pm
Italy were in a tough group and Brazil aside, Mexico and Japan are not the bad sides of yesteryear...however, what is inexcusable is the way Italy gave the ball away in the first half...they missed De Rossi and Pirlo big time. I admire Prandelli, he has achieved great things to completely rebuild Italy, but his squad selections leave me speechless..especially when I read that Gilardino may replace Balotelli :-O
on the 24th June, 2013 at 6:13pm
the thing that bothers me about Italy other than the fact their passing and possession play is truly shocking is the fact they have absolutely no pace in the team i mean its like they are running in concrete i really don't understand why the Italian players are so slow in comparison to other i said before Italy have to have radical changes and Italians don't do radical and will never improve at this rate make the most of 2006 because i cant see Italy winning anything anytime soon
on the 24th June, 2013 at 5:14pm
@ moh 343 really are you serious lol that will be a cricket score a diamond against Spain has already been proven to be a epic fail and the fact pirlo moves about as quick as my gran that's a huge amount of cover the back 3 are not getting.the only way to play spain is play 5 or 6 in midfield make them go wide or make them play long which is something they dont do well when hurried portugal did this in the semi and forced a lot of errors against spain.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 5:10pm
A couple of lessons learned from Conf Cup and last year's EURO.

The Azzurri seem better balanced with a 3 men defense. A midfield with Pirlo, Montolivo and De Rossi is plenty of class, but lacks speed and dynamism. Balotelli upfront is growing by the day, but needs support from players like Cassano was 12 months ago.

Hence, in Prandelli's shoes, I would try a 3-3-3-1 lineup.





on the 24th June, 2013 at 4:35pm
I was horrified by some of the comments Italian players were making in the papers after the Brazil game. Its not the kind of mentality an international level player should have. Have they sunk so low so that they are now content with 'troubling the opposition', 'outplaying the opposition for a spell', 'making life difficult for opposition??? at this stage, they should be putting the final polishing touches on the team not be content by putting the opposition under pressure..Japan does that
on the 24th June, 2013 at 4:01pm
With backs against the wall and seemingly no chance... this is perfect for the Azzurri. All to gain... nothing to lose with super mario out.

Positivity people.... could be worse.. could support england!
on the 24th June, 2013 at 3:58pm
@Anonymous , Spain can be beaten. I think Nigeria had the best approach. They played like they didn't care that they were facing Spain. I think that most teams are so afraid that half the battle is won for Spain before kick off. Nigeria pressed and actually looked the better side for most of the game. Too bad their finishing was bad or it might have been a huge upset. Nigeria were flying. They had no troubles getting into Spain's half. They didn't seem afraid at all. Bravo Nigeria!
on the 24th June, 2013 at 3:41pm
letting in 8 goals in 3 gamnes is just inexcusable - I don't care whether you take the competition seriously or not. It speaks volumes about the state of the Italian defence. They also let in four goals in the final against Spain last year. Were thy not taking the final seriusoly?? The golden rule is that teams that can not defend have very little to no chnace of winning anything. Spain have only let in one goal against good opposition. Wake up Prandelli...stop messing around
on the 24th June, 2013 at 2:38pm
No Balotelli and Pirlo is still questionable. Prandelli is planning on starting Gila. I would say our tournament is officially over unless Spain have the worst game of their history. This game is going to be very painful to watch. Italy has officially become a third rate team. My hope is that they don't qualify for Brazil next year. Who is going to beat Spain? Who? They always have the ball, they rarely get injuries or red cards and now they are scoring at will. Spain will keep the cup 100%.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 2:36pm
I think we're gonna have no choice nut to play 3-5-2 against Spain with Balotelli being out!

If so I would like the team to line up like this vs Spain


De Rossi (ball playing defender as in the Euro's who can also venture into midfield if we need to go 4 at the back)

Marchisio (making runs to support the striker)
De Sciglio

Giaccherini (Can give width allowing Marchisio to support the striker)
El Shaarawy
on the 24th June, 2013 at 1:03pm
As an Italy supporter I'm not looking forward to Spain. Many injuries and a really shady looking defense will play straight into Spain's style of play. It might be really ugly for Italy on Thursday. Given the current situation I'd go for a hardcore Catenaccio on Thursday. Might be the only way to get a result.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 12:58pm
3-5-2 is one way of putting it but seeing that the Azzurri wing backs are ineffective, why not be bold and go 3-4-3 ?

The usual Juve goalkeeper & trident at the back, a diamond midfield consisting of Pirlo, De Rossi, Marchisio & either Candreva or Diamanti ahead of them.

Seeing that Balo isn't 100%, I would have Giovinco on the left, Giaccherini on the right and SES up front...
on the 24th June, 2013 at 11:26am
So it could be a 352 vs Spain. I hope that it won't be a one off decision & that he chooses to give the system a run of games, which will allow the team to gel. Prandelli's decision to take Gilardino as Balotelli's back up gets worse by the day.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 8:53am
3-5-2 is being reported and I'd like to see
Barz Bon Chiel
De Sci De Ross Pirlo March Giach
Gila Shaaraway
on the 24th June, 2013 at 8:49am
Finally can we all just remember that Prandelli has only lost 1 competitive match with Italy (v Spain). If this tournament counts as a competitive tournament then he might add another two to that list (I'm assuming we're going to lose to Spain). Therefore he is doing something right. The hope for Spain is that we do better than the final in Euro 2012 (and not worse!). Spain are still too good. We'll only compete with them and Germany by re-focusing on our youth and there is some work to do there
on the 24th June, 2013 at 8:48am
Taking into account injuries my preference for Spain would be: Buffon (he has been shaky but he is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time and remains the best available keeper and captain), Juve x 3, De Scigilo, Giacherini, De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio, Giovinico and SES (if fit) or else there is nobody else but Gila(?!?). I think we have learned a few things this tournament so it could be very beneficial for next year certainly in relation to acclimitising.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 8:40am
It is worth remembering that in Conte's first season with Juve he did play 4 at the back. Therefore the Juve 3 should be able to play in a back 4. My preference is always a back 4 since with wing backs they can be pushed back too easily but given the defensive woes it is at least worth trying against Spain. Also it probably suits Abate and Maggio who cannot defend. I have no idea where people are getting that Giacherini should now be our trequartista. Left wing back maybe but we need 2 up front.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 8:35am
Wow there's a lot of comments on Italy. People seem to be taking this Confederations Cup seriously! Very mixed feelings from Italy v Brazil. Italy had a number of injurious, tried another new formation and could have levelled the game at 3-3. But there continues to be some concerns. Whichever way you spin it the defence was poor and has been poor in all of the games recently including qualfifiers against Malta and the Czech Republic. I probably agree with those calling for 3 at the back but....
on the 24th June, 2013 at 8:32am
Pirlo is a machine he's still a legend, balotelli is 'if' not the best one of the best striers in the world! And Buffon is still in top 3 gk in the world. We have a good side that can honestly push for world cup glory! We need another st to help balo, hope for Giuseppe Rossi to return! Or insigne to improve more! Verratti2 knock out aquilani/montolivo ,bring back balzaretti!!! WC14: Buffon,barzagli,bonucci,chiellini;abate,balzareti;pirlo,derossi,verratti; g.rossi,balotelli. 3:5:2
on the 24th June, 2013 at 8:32am
Scrap that, its just been confirmed that Balotelli is out of the match on Thursday. So from a slight chance v Spain we now have zero chance. We have no-one to hold the ball up and relieve the pressure that Spain will put us under. Gilardino just doesn't cut it for me and the Spain defense will be laughing if he starts.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 7:31am
Anyone who argued Marchiso is better than Montolivo should realize the fact that Marchiso is the worst midfielder in this competition besides Aquaman.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 4:13am
CP, please do not play attacking football if you keep conceeding goals at the back. The back are way too shaky! 8 goals conceeded in 3 matches are very awful, and that is not an improvement. It seems that the Italians have lost the art of defending. Pls turn back to 3CB system, that is the system where Italy could be assured at the back. We dun want beautiful attacking football if we can't win matches. what is the point we can score many goals but conceeding more goals than we scored? Pointless.
on the 24th June, 2013 at 3:38am
Well it's Spain again I'm really hoping montilivio & pirlo will be fit such a shame balo is out of the Spain match but I really think we need to go 3-5-2 against Spain but if in doubt stick with the original and best mr CP 4-4-2!
on the 24th June, 2013 at 3:12am

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