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...
Nice read as usual. I was particularly impressed by the second half showing.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 6:56am
Say what you like Susy but since when does Italy allow so many goals to go through their defense? I prefer the old 1-0 wins. Long live Catenaccio!
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 6:28am
Susy is exactly right. The national team is gaining some great experience from this confederations cup. In some spells the team is looking very fluent. They also made five changes for the Brazil game and two of their goals looked offside. The Italians do need to tighten up at the back though because they are allowing too much space to dangerous opposing forwards.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 6:27am
And prandelli made a joke by putting diamanti from the beginning. What a brilliant! Everyone knows he is good player but not that good. Better play gio out there since his style benefit to the team especially against "open play" team like brazil
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 6:16am
Giacherrini would be my Italian player of tournament thus far. How could one not be in love with his tireless workrate and grinta? It makes me wonder sometimes that he is not actually an Italian... This guy deserves more playing time at the club level (yeah that's right, bench Marchisio).
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 5:25am
Not only C.Prandelli is an inept/clueless/stubborn coach, he is also a stupid one by making the 'color' comment on Balotelli.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 5:16am
vs Spain:use 3-5-2 formation.GK:Marchetti,Def:BBC,RWB: Maggio,LWB:desciglio,mid:Pirlo,DeRossi+ *,* being a hard worker and can cover a lot of ground(eg Marchisio/ Giach,pls no Monto->gave up possesion cheaply so many times),striker: Gio/Giach+Balo. The key is to remain compact and wait for chances (ACM vs Barca).Gio/Balo should take the freekicks (>Pirlo when the goal is directly in sight).

I predict a narrow win for Spain. But expect a ruthless mauling if 4-3-1-2 is used again.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 5:13am
The criticism of Buffon is ridiculous and disrespectful. The BBC were writing his obituary making a ridiculous statement that he would only break the appearances record of Fabio Cannavaro through sentimentality. Gigi had a bad night, one of his worst for a long time, but he is still the man I want to see between the sticks for Juventus and the Azzurri. He played 79 games the last 2 seasons and conceded just 45 goals, which was a major reason for our back-to-back Scudetto's. FORZA GIGI FOREVER!!!
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 4:40am
Could not agree more. It was a good show of character, although we played almost the entire game without our first choice midfied. I cant see us beating Spain, however, would love a rematch in the Final.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 4:31am
Susy I tweeted you before the competition that I thought Chiellini was overrated, you disagreed. Well, look at goals for Japan and Brazil and most of the time you will find Chiellini missing a mark. What can be said of Fred manhandling Chiellini then scoring? The defence is a big worry and a big sieve right now. Disagree completely about Di Sciglio he looked outclassed last 2 games. As for Abate becoming as injury prone as Nesta. Bonucci and Chiellini are brittle and Barzagli is old.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 3:49am
Well, the way Prandelli played his team...hard to get too excited. Come on, Prandelli. I've always been a fan of better. Show something. And you think you deserved a draw? We weren't even that good, but you were THAT bad.

Also, what is this obsession with EVERYBODY playing Marchisio out of position? Even when BOTH Pirlo and De Rossi are out? You think Montolivo and Aquilani make sense in the deep center? And why is Candreva on the right? He's a CM/AM...not wide of a striker.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 3:45am
Prandelli should see the problem by now. The 4-man backline isn't the solution. They escaped with a point in Prague and the defensive and ball retention issues fully exposed in competitive matches against strong teams. Fatigue is just an excuse. If they do not find a solution soon, expect another early WC exit next year.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 3:43am
Its Marchetti turn or at least should have tried him for this tournament just to gain experience. Buffon is a legend but we know what he brings and if he is still in good form by the World Cup and there is is no question marks then he's the guy, but I gotta say he has been shaky of late. I thought Italia would get smoked by brazil today but I'm so happy I was wrong. They surprised me and now give me hope for a one day no pirlo azzurri.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 3:25am
Going to a 3-5-1-1 wouldn't be a huge deviation from the 4-3-2-1. Prandelli has no excuses. Giacherini has been linking up well with Balotelli, allow him to flank Balotelli in a 3-5-1-1. Abate's injury may be a blessing in disguise as it may force Prandelli to switch to the 3-5-1-1 because of his discomfort with Maggio's defensive abilities at RB.
Barzagli Bonucci Chiellini
Maggio De Rossi Pirlo Marchiso De Scilgio
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 2:55am
Great blog, if it wasn't for Italy's slow start they scoreline may have been different, we must learn to stamp our authority on to the game as quick as possible. That's what's keeping us behind from teams like Spain who switch it on at will. Buffon remains one of the great keepers in the world, a keeper needs experience and he has an abundance of it I'm he will bounce back, if more support is given to balo from the start I'm sure we could score early goals, we need to keep it tight in defence.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 2:45am
I hope Prandelli now realizes that the 3 Juve defenders need to play together. It is so blatantly obvious and yet Prandelli struggles to recognize it... I am dumbfounded... We've all seen how it goes when Italia play strong attacking sides with only 2 CBs, and I am SO TIRED of watching it. The Cbs aren't strong enough individually to handle it and the Juve defenders aren't used to playing in a back two. If I have to watch Italia play Spagna with only 2 CBs I am going to hurl.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 2:32am
Suzy, you're dreaming my dear. Italy didn't look to have very much at all, and their reliance on Pirlo is scary. Without him, they looked very average.

Defensively Italy are the worst I can remember.

No idea in attack, apart from dumping the ball up to Balotelli and letting him take every single free-kick within 50 yards of goal.

Buffon showed that he's been an overrated keeper for years. A good keeper, yes, but not world-class.

Italy won't get beyond the 1/4 final next summer with this lot
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 1:54am
Agreed with the positives, but Italy can't expect to go far with that kind of defending. That needs to be solved.

At least they're improving up front, they're entertaining to watch.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 1:48am
susy, your being way toooo generous on your praise for italy. i take absolutely zero pleasure out of saying brazil deserved to beat the azzurri today. a good part of the 1st half italy threw almost every pass away, not to mention didn't even get out of its own half. instead of catching the ball, buffon parried every shot away or either into open traffic. balotelli does more damages as a left sided attacker cutting in, and NOT as a punta. the heal flick-on was marvelous, totti style!
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 1:25am
Well said, Italy played well and the midfield started playing much better once Montolivo went off. I think Prandelli needs to learn that Monto and Aquilani cant play in midfield together or with Pirlo. Also Buffon made 1 bad mistake with the final goal and the BBC are saying he should have saved all 4 goals!?! are they nuts? I really hope in the next game Buffon pulls off some amazing saves to silence these pundits. Also Giaccherini has been Italy's breakthrough player of the tournament.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 1:05am
We lost but the second half was one of the best I have seen the azzurri play in a long time. This game has demonstrated that Brazil has a lot of weaknesses that can be exploited. We scored two great goals, hit the post and had two clear penalties that were not called. I hope we beat Spain and play them again in the final.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 12:42am
i think you're completely right susy , any downsides to the way the azzurri play can be improved on in time for next year's world cup , we'll most probably face spain in the semi finals so we need to knuckle down on this problem of sleeping in the first half hour of the match ,if we have any hope of winning we need to play like we did in the second half of the match for the entire game , it's our comeback era now we need to show the world that by winning the confederations cup
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 12:20am
8 goals conceded in 3 games is really worrying. Buffon is a legend, the penalty conceded in the last game wasn't even a penalty. I think the criticism is very harsh and there is nobody better in Serie A.
on the 23rd June, 2013 at 12:18am

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