Sunday June 15 2014
Mazzola: 'Italy have to change'

Italy beat England 2-1, but Azzurri legend Sandro Mazzola insists “they have to change system or players.”

The Nazionale got their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start with a 2-1 victory in Manaus, as the new 4-1-4-1 tactic with Andrea Pirlo and Marco Verratti as double playmakers proved effective.

“I thought it was a so-so performance,” claimed Mazzola on TGCom.

“I don’t really agree with this unstoppable enthusiasm I hear around me. The best man on the pitch for Italy was the goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, which means England had many scoring opportunities.

“They were wasteful and we did well to make the most of their mistakes. In order to fix this, I think Cesare Prandelli either needs to change system or players.

“First of all, I don’t like Giorgio Chiellini as a left-back. Of course Mattia De Sciglio’s injury robbed the Coach of some options, but I think that if we don’t make changes then we’ll have trouble in future.”

Mario Balotelli scored the winning goal and had another cleared off the line by Phil Jagielka.

“He did well, but not great,” insisted Mazzola. “I think he can give Italy a big hand, as he seems more mature and less likely to do dumb things. He’s on the right track to become a great champion.

“I didn’t expect Matteo Darmian to be so decisive at these levels, but he really impressed me. England didn’t realise he was there and it allowed us to punish them. Mind you, if they had covered more down Darmian’s area of the pitch, it might’ve opened up space somewhere else.

“I still maintain Brazil are the favourites, even though I didn’t like their performance against Croatia. They haven’t given their all yet.

“If there is a surprise side in this World Cup, it will certainly be a South American team. Playing in those conditions is only helpful to anyone already accustomed to it.”

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