Friday October 11 2013
Predictable Italy in Copenhagen

It was pretty much as Susy Campanale expected against Denmark, as Italy showed positives, negatives and a familiar scoreline.

That was pretty much the performance we expected from an experimental Italy side in Copenhagen: a few spurts of creativity interrupting long periods of below par football with heart more than quality scraping a result. Let’s just breathe a sigh of relief and be thankful the Azzurri’s unbeaten record in World Cup qualifiers since 2004 remains intact.

At least we got to see what some players can do, both in positive and negative terms. Dani Osvaldo confirmed himself to be an effective striker when he’s not riding the crazy train, Thiago Motta is another alternative to Andrea Pirlo – though I’d prefer Marco Verratti – and Andrea Ranocchia is still a terrible defender. It doesn’t matter how many opportunities you give to the Inter centre-back, he’s just not going to deliver. So here’s hoping this latest test convinced Cesare Prandelli to scrub his name off the list of potential call-ups.

We were all so proud when Italy qualified with two games to spare, the first time in the country’s history this had been achieved for a World Cup. Looking at the other results now, it’s a less impressive feat. Whoever finishes second in Group B will likely miss out on the play-offs anyway, as all the other runners-up have amassed more points. Denmark, Armenia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic all took points off each other to make it inevitable Italy would break away at the top. It’s as if these teams got into a circle and invited each side to shoot the other in the foot.

Still, let’s focus on the positives from Copenhagen. Italy does have a lot of competition for places in attack and midfield, which could not be said a few years ago. Giuseppe Rossi is returning to fitness and I look forward to seeing what kind of partnership he can form with Mario Balotelli. Alessio Cerci is a useful figure to throw on in the second half when opponents are tired and at Torino this season has developed tactically to become more versatile.

I just hope Prandelli continues with the experiments against Armenia on Tuesday night. What we do not need to see is Pirlo starting in midfield. I don’t even know why he’s part of this group once qualification is assured, especially as he has begun to look fatigued for Juventus. And try not to take lessons from Milan on how to defend headers, otherwise you end up making Nicklas Bendtner look good.

Having said all that, let’s not pretend it wasn’t amusing to ruin Denmark’s hopes of qualification in stoppages with a 2-2 scoreline. Sweet Scandinavian revenge for Euro 2004...

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Have your say...
Aquilani please retire from international football you are rubbish!!!!!! Lucky with deflected goal on Friday, got you a starting place, misplaced passes, no vision, no heart. Same goes for Monty !

CP you have some real problems in this squad, bring in cassano at least. Insigne, florenzi absolute stars.
on the 15th October, 2013 at 10:22pm
Id play canna, nesta, baresi at their age now they would be better than the crap we have at present. Sirigu should have played tonight. Cesare needs to wake up and call roncaglia and get him to play for us a top defender we need. Bardi should replace marchetti. God how we missed de rossi. Lets have fun says cesare whos laughing?
on the 15th October, 2013 at 9:04pm
What a load of crap. Now we may not even be seeded. Theres no point going this summer. Thats why buffon is number 1 still, marchetti was awful. Astori and other defense was crap. Midfield was crap. Rossi hardly plays. No passion nothing. Shameful
on the 15th October, 2013 at 8:54pm
@ Sam de Martino

Roncaglia would be on my squad sheet too, but until he decides his international future (I hope Prandelli is even considering him) I would be inclined to choose Bonucci, Astori or Ogbonna
on the 15th October, 2013 at 6:04pm
I think it is important for both Conte and Prandelli to find the position that Marchisio is best in. In the first few games of the EURO he was a beast, and then disappeared after Prandelli changed his formation.

If Prandelli takes Gilardino and not Cassano to the WC then he is just an idiot.
on the 15th October, 2013 at 2:48pm
Dan agree with you about the heat etc but I was thinking more of Totti and Cassano as Reserves to pull out a game if the azzurri fall behind or need a goal. Remember in 2006 we had Totti ADP and Inzaghi, each one scoring key goals but only Totti playing most of the games. Balotelli will play most of the games this time. I want to maybe backtrack on Di Natale not sure he ever has done well with Azzurri
on the 15th October, 2013 at 12:58pm
If Rossi doesn't start tonight I will be fuming. Whats the point of him been called up and not playing, its pathetic. I want to see him play a good 60 minutes at least tonight. I think tonight will be antoehr poor performance, I expect us to scrap a narrow win as usual while failing to impress. Play BALO, ROSSI AND INSIGNE from the start. I agree with Dan about Totti, Cassano and Di Natale the Brazil climate will be hard for them to play every few days. For me Cassano must go.
on the 15th October, 2013 at 8:28am
@ Dario

Seriously mate, how can you dispute Balotelli's place in the team. He's nuts but he's the best talent we've produced for a generation. He's not just good with pens and free kicks. He's strong, fast, works the flanks well & his movement reminds me of Vialli & Inzaghi. For a stupid guy he's very intelligent on the pitch and he has the capability to produce something out of nothing. Anyway, so far, his temperament is totally different for Italy & you can see the shirt means alot to him.
on the 15th October, 2013 at 7:03am
Marchisio - is this guy useless or what. Always seems tired. Makes simple mistakes . Have seen him miss easy opportunities (even for juve) there are games that you would know he was on the field as he disappears for 15 minutes at a time! Is he related to Prandelli?
on the 15th October, 2013 at 4:37am

He came in January less then a year ago. He score 12 or 13 goals last half season. Don't care if they were penalties, he deserved many of them.

This season just started. He gets booked and sent off way too often but be needs to be nursed. But don't for a second neglect the fact that he's Italy's most prominent striker at the moment. Have you already forgot what he did in the euros against Germany and the whole turney itself?

The guy adds, stamina, extreme composure, technique.
on the 14th October, 2013 at 7:59pm
As usual Susy is putting out garbage.... No doubt andrea ranocchia was not great but to single him out when both balzaretti and Buffon were garbage... Him and chiellini were decent marchisio played well diamanti ran around headless... Hate that journalism now has become so biased we know you're a Milan fan Susy.
on the 14th October, 2013 at 5:33pm
My biggest concern is that amount of rubbish players that currently make up the Italian squad. Italy has never believed in youth perhaps in the past this was due to a number of talent already in the squad but this argument certainly does not hold water when the squad is made up of average at best players like, Monty, Ranocchia, Aquilani, Balza, Maggio, Marchisio, Cerci, Candreva, Diamanti, Thiago Motta and Osvaldo. The coach is clueless, and Italy's only chance is if the players over perform.
on the 14th October, 2013 at 11:48am
Totti, Cassano, & Di Natale would provide a massive boost in creativity, ball retention, & finishing. The problem's would be the Brazilian climate & having to play 2 games a week. If these players were included, then there would have to be regular rotation & this could harm the rhythm of the team. I think that CP is right in that he will wait & see what kind of condition they are in May, before deciding whether to call them up.
on the 14th October, 2013 at 9:22am
My 25 would be Buffon, Sirigu, Marchetti or Bardi

Maggio, Roncaglia, Abate , Barzagli , Chiellini
De Sciglio , Balzaretti , Ogbonna

Candreva , De Rossi , Giacherini, Pirlo , Verratti , Motta , Florenzi, Montolivo

Balo , Rossi , Quags, Insigne, Cassano , Osvaldo.

Nearly but not quite would be Astori, Marchisio , Totti, Di Natale, Gabbiadini.

Nowhere near would be Ranocchia, Aquilini, Gilardino and Giovinco.
on the 14th October, 2013 at 8:30am
I agree with Mark Quagliarella should be in the squad he is a top player. How the hell is Gilardino better than him its incredible. Quagliarella always delivers for Juve when he plays he just needs a run of games. To be fair to Cesare its very easy for us to all e mail and criticise, although I have to say I think the criticism is right. Cesare doesn't know his best team, and he hasn't made the most of these 2 games to try out new things. Until he gets rid of the dead wood we have no hope.
on the 14th October, 2013 at 8:18am
The problem I perceive is I want talent irrelevant of age. Timeless wonders like Totti, Cassano, and Di Natale would blend well with Insigne Balotelli, and Rossi. Florenzi , Verratti, and Marchisio bring pace to the likes of Pirlo, De Rossi, and Motta. Take them all forget Cerci and Gilardino that ilk. Like Diamanti and. Less Osvaldo not sure there is room.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 11:00pm
It's a shame that Italy haven't called up Quagliarella- I think he's a great would also be great to see Totti back in the squad as he hasn't shown anything like his real potential on the international stage

Italy always seem to want to leave their best players at home- thinking here of the phenomenal Marco Simone in the 1990s, the under used Marco Delvecchio and Vincenzo Montella- more recently, Miccoli, at the last World Cup (who knows what may have happened with him in the squad?)
on the 13th October, 2013 at 8:27pm
so I heard Balloteli was involved in an ugly scene with camera crew! this guy Balo has serious mental problems. I believe he is mentally disturbed, and needs to be treated as fast as possible.
Any doctors in here?
on the 13th October, 2013 at 7:53pm
@Viktor, please explain how balotelli is Italy's best striker? Is he capocanniere? Does he score more goals than totti or di natal or even toni? He actually has a poor record of scoring goals if you take away his penalty taking. Consistently booked and sent off . Always in the media for the wrong things is what gets him noticed not for his scoring abilities.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 7:16pm
It would be great if we could go out on Tuesday and hammer Armenia. Lets finish on a high and actually put in a good performance in qualifying. What I would give to have the likes of CANNA, NESTA, MALDINI, BARESI, BAGGIO, ZOLA still in their prime. Hope Cesare plays Rossi, Balo and Insigne from the start and Veratti in midfield. I wish De Rossi wasn't injured god we need him. Motta was excellent the other night. We need to take a chance on Roncaglia he is twice the player of Ranocchia.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 7:06pm
@ Dario
do you have a crystal ball?

Balo just clashed with camera man.

He needs kicked from the squad. Only a pen hero. His lime light was at the Euros. He is finished
on the 13th October, 2013 at 6:59pm
I hope Cesare doesn't go down the Lippi road of WC 2010 where lots of players past their best played in the tournament. As a big roma fan I love totti but I don't think he would deliver for Italy. He hasn't played for Italy since 2006 final and we haven't played in Europe for a few years. Playing in Serie A isn't up to the level of Europe or international games. CASSANO MUST GO, What does he have to do for god sake Cesare. Call up Roncaglia to add some quality to our defense.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 4:04pm
Surely Buffon can work on his reaction times and speed. If the azzurri goalkeeping unit focused on this then hopefully this will improve. Its the mistakes that are worrying, again Buffon needs to work on his concentration. If not of this happens I really worry for the World cup. Bardi and Leali are the future but need experience. Sirigu and Marchetti are the here and now but they need games playing for Italy, so why Cesare isn't making the most of this when we are qualified I have no idea.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 3:59pm

Yeah let's not bring balo the best striker Italy currently have. That makes sense.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 1:59pm
Onofrio, Buffon is still our best keeper, but I would liked to have seen Marchetti or Sirigu used in these dead rubbers. Sentiment can be a dangerous thing. If Buffon continues to struggle then someone else should be given a chance, either on Tues or future friendlies.

We do not have a shortage of central midfielders, just midfielders with a bit of steel in their game. We have no other midfielders that can defend like DDR. His anticipation & positioning borders on the superhuman.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 1:50pm
Rubbish game. Italy boring and it took the luck of a deflection to save embarrassment. Remember...Italy were supposed to go out there and 'have fun' that usually means to play without pressure and generally come home with a result in their favor. What was wrong with Buffon...was he afraid of bouncing off the post for BOTH goals? Feel sorry for Suzy..with a team like Italy what can she say but little
on the 13th October, 2013 at 11:34am
Thiago Motta can do a similar job to De Rossi in the short term and I have high hopes Juve's Marrone could develop in that role also if he can play regular football. There is also Poli and Verratti too. It's not all doom and gloom in the midfield dept.

Now to Buffon. He may now be making more mistakes, but he's still by far Italy's best keeper. Until he loses it completely, his experience and leadership is paramount for this team and the younger generation going forward to the Euro qualifiers.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 11:21am
Joe, myself & Maldini's Heir have often spoken about this. De Rossi has been our best player for the past year. It would be a nightmare if he got injured, as I don't think that we have anyone that comes close him. Cannavaro's comments were interesting, & I would also add that Italy are also not producing as many defensive midfielders as they used to. I am worried about Buffon, his reactions & concentration are not as sharp as they used to be, & regular errors are creeping into his game.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 9:38am
Looking at the current squad, for Tuesday I would like to see the following experiment using a 4-2-3-1/4-4-2...


Di Silvestre Astori Chiellini Pasqual

De Rossi Verratti

Florenzi Rossi Insigne

on the 13th October, 2013 at 9:10am
Interesting comments...CP should not use the old guard unless they can be replaced with someone as good as or better as none of them are good for 90 minutes especially in the heat of Brazil and playing every 3-4 days. As for strikers I would not bring Balotelli as he is a liability because of his disciplinary record and likely to let the team down as he done in the past with all his teams and he only scores mainly penalties. Bring in ZAZA who looks like a really good striker.
on the 13th October, 2013 at 8:14am

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