BLOG ITALIA
Monday July 4 2016
Rating the Azzurri

Now that Italy’s Euro 2016 is over, David Swan looks back over the best and worst performers.

Gianluigi Buffon - 7

Another great tournament from the long-time No.1. Difficult to remember the last time he had a bad game in an event, such is the consistency of his performances for Italy. Despite the talk surrounding Gianluigi Donnarumma, Buffon is showing no signs at all that he should relinquish his first XI spot.

Mattia De Sciglio - 6

Receives a lot of criticism for his efforts at Milan, but is a player who never lets Italy down when he plays, even in a wing-back position that isn’t his usual at club level. Was dangerous offensively against Spain, a facet of the game often cited by his detractors.

Giorgio Chiellini - 7

Had his performances and form questioned during the club season, but was an important part of arguably the best defence in the tournament. Knows his limitations with the ball, and was more than happy to either play it long or give it to someone with a bit more ability.

Matteo Darmian - 6

Started the first game, but then lost his place and couldn’t get it back. He didn’t do a lot wrong against Belgium, so you have to wonder whether Antonio Conte believed his fitness didn’t allow him to perform at a high enough level over 90 minutes. Nevertheless, he performed well whenever he was called upon from the bench in the subsequent games.

Angelo Ogbonna - 6

Had one game against Republic of Ireland in a much-changed XI. Defended well against their physicality and was useful on the ball.

Antonio Candreva - 6

Wasn’t missed at all in the Spain victory, but Italy could have done with his presence against Germany - somebody a bit more adventurous to create something for a team that didn’t show a great deal of ambition for most of the 120 minutes. Played well in the Belgium game, but was less of a factor against Sweden, like many of his teammates.

Simone Zaza - 6

His ridiculous penalty aside, Zaza’s willingness to run into the channels gave Conte a different option in attack, albeit one that wasn’t used that much during games that weren’t dead rubbers.

Alessandro Florenzi - 6

Took over from Darmian after the first game and deservedly kept his spot. His versatility is impressive - he played on both flanks, and can play in the middle too - but is probably going to hamper his international career in the long-term unless he can nail down a position. Offered tireless running, but his ability to beat a player wasn’t seen often enough.

Graziano Pellè - 6

A very difficult player to rate. He held the ball up incredibly well during most games, and was well suited to the many long balls Italy played, but wasn’t a goal threat often enough. Could tell he enjoyed playing with a smaller, more mobile striker in Eder, but the lack of quality from both was telling at times.

Thiago Motta - 6

Given the No.10 shirt but then kept on the bench in favour of Daniele De Rossi, whose performance as a sub against Finland in the pre-tournament friendly probably convinced Conte he was the man to go with. Limited to late-game appearances, he still managed to get enough bookings for a suspension.

Ciro Immobile - 6

Conte’s decision to bring him on against Belgium was probably his best substitute in the entire tournament, because it gave Italy a threat on the break and outlet to run it into the corners and waste time. The space he was afforded in that match wasn’t there against Republic of Ireland, and he didn’t look anywhere near as good in his only other appearance in France.

Salvatore Sirigu - 5

He’s no Buffon, but he has been relatively reliable when called upon in the past - England in the 2014 World Cup, for example. But his 90 minutes against Republic of Ireland were poor. A number of flaps at crosses, including some questionable decision making for Robbie Brady’s goal, highlighted his lack of football for PSG this season. Unless he can find a first XI place at club level soon, then his place as Italy No.2 could well come under scrutiny, especially as the Azzurri have a number of young goalkeepers waiting to make the step up.

Federico Marchetti - no rating

Stefano Sturaro - 6

Something of an unnecessary pick for the squad, as Italy didn’t need another midfielder like Sturaro. He generally went about his duties well, but he’s better suited as a role player surrounded by more talented figures, as he is for Juventus, rather than being one of many doing a similar job in midfield.

Andrea Barzagli - 7

Had a very good tournament, and if he retires from international duty his ability to build from the back will be sorely missed. Having two central defenders who could play the ball was vital to Italy progressing as far as they did.

Daniele De Rossi - 6

Forced his way into the XI during the pre-tournament friendlies, and repaid Conte’s decision to go with him over Thiago Motta. That said, his range of passing and verticality wasn’t always on show as much as Italy would have liked. It wasn’t easy, as Italy didn’t have more of the ball in any of their five games, but they could have done with De Rossi trying to make his mark a bit more. Without the ball, he was as good as ever, albeit helped by having energetic players either side of him.

Eder - 6

Ran hard for the team in every game, but bar his goal against Sweden, he did not show enough quality on a regular basis. His miss while through one-on-one versus Spain was more like the Eder Inter fans have come to expect.

Marco Parolo - 6

In theory, it was down to Parolo to be the creative force in midfield. In practice, it wasn’t ever going to work like that because he isn’t really good enough, and it showed during Euro 2016. His best game was probably against Germany, in a relatively unfamiliar deeper role in front of the defence.

Leonardo Bonucci - 8

The undoubted star for Italy. He has had a tournament that has probably put him into consideration for being one of the top three defenders in the world. Bonucci is incredibly valuable in an era where having central defenders who can build from the back is becoming more desirable.

Lorenzo Insigne - 6

In the few minutes he received, he demonstrated that he was Italy’s best forward. His performance off the bench against Sweden likely earned the trust of Conte, because it is not beyond the realms of possibility that we wouldn’t have seen him again had he not played well in that time. One of the biggest failings of the Conte reign is not giving more time to Insigne and Pellè to see if they could form a partnership.

Federico Bernardeschi - 6

Didn’t show any of his Fiorentina form in his one appearance during the competition. A very attacking option as a wing back - he’s played mainly as a winger for the U-21s - and he didn’t really fit with what Conte was looking for from his wing-backs during the three weeks. A player who was stifled by the style of play, rather than someone who wasn’t very good.

Stephan El Shaarawy - 6

A similar story to Bernardeschi. El Shaarawy is a very offensive option for a left wing-back - he’s not even a wing-back - and Conte figured pretty early that the Roma man wasn’t what he needed during the tournament. Offered little during his time on the pitch, but like Bernardeschi was more stifled by the style. And, again like the Fiorentina youngster, was essentially in this strange position where he became surplus to requirements, save for the run-out against Republic of Ireland where Conte was just giving his main guys a rest.

Emanuele Giaccherini - 6

Offered a different skill set to all the other midfielders. He was willing to run beyond Pellè, and equally happy to try and beat an opponent. But Italy’s lack of possession nullified his different offensive skills for long periods, meaning he was reduced to running hard like everyone else.

Have your say...
Forza italia
on the 1st August, 2016 at 4:50pm
I am proud of my Italian team. It is very good to see them on the offensive. Thank-you Antonio Conte and all the players, you made me proud.
on the 14th July, 2016 at 2:51pm
To those who disagree with me dissing Serie A I think you guys are in denial.I support the Azzurri and Serie A but we all know it's not what it use to be.Not just the standard of players but as we all know we need a bunch of new stadiums.We also need to stop brining in Grade B foreigners who take the place of Italians.
on the 13th July, 2016 at 9:02pm
@SANRELLA I don`t know where you get your INFOS on Seria A being weak I really don`t.Sure the league`s in trouble but we`ve been weathering the storm for the past 5 years and we`ve done pretty remarkable based on ITALY`S financial situation and austerity measures not to mention the financial fair play ruling.This also gives the league a hard look within themselves in how to govern their teams alot better based on their revenues.we still manage to get 3 teams in champions league and 3 in europa.
on the 10th July, 2016 at 7:43pm
JULY 9TH 2006 IT FEELS LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY. THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THE JOY AND EMOTION. WHAT A TEAM AND MANAGER. LETS HOPE THAT IN 2 YEARS WE HAVE MORE JOYFUL MEMORIES. FORZA ITALIA.
on the 9th July, 2016 at 8:43am
buffon - 9
bonucci - 9
barzagli - 9
chiellini - 8
de sciglio - 8
darmian - 6
ogbonna - 5
de rossi - 7
motta - 6
giacherini - 8
candreva - 6
bernedeschi - 4
sturaro - 5
parolo - 6
el sharrawy - 4
insigne - 7
pelle - 7
eder - 7
zaza - 5
immobile - 5
florenzi - 7
sirigu - 4
on the 9th July, 2016 at 8:00am
@Sanrella

You want Serie A to be at La Liga/PL/Bundesliga's level? We need better foreigners. Either way, all this obsession about Italian youth is what made the current Milan. The only good example of this philosophy is Sassuolo, just 1 place better.

Serie A first needs to attract talent, achievable by performing in European competitions. Only then will having young talent be of any value. As for international competitions, it's all on the coach. Just look at Euro 16.
on the 9th July, 2016 at 12:01am
@Sanrella

So placing = rank quality, eh?

England (+most of Belgium) => Lost to opposition they should be walking over easily. In theory, anyway. The premiere league is overhyped ****

Spain => Clubs dominated CL+Uefa, country lost to Italy.

Germany => Barely pass Italy, lost badly to France.

These are products of Europe's top 4. I don't deny Serie A is in trouble, but other countries have players but no team. Portugal got to the finals, Wales semi.
on the 8th July, 2016 at 11:55pm
I give them all 10 because they gave me a Euros I wasn't expecting.

We now have a weak league.Top players don't come to Serie A.However we are filling our league with B-grade foreigners.We need to play italians and give the Azzurri a chance.
on the 8th July, 2016 at 8:16pm
.......because bbbc I feel will be too old (apart from maybe Bonucci) by the next World Cup, but more importantly Italian clubs need to give young Italians a chance, with all these foreign take overs, I fear the situation will get worse and end up being an "England"
on the 8th July, 2016 at 2:00pm
I think whoever did these ratings must be sitting on the same committee that does the FIFA rankings! Italy did exceed expectations and Conte did a good job, however I feel could have done better, Motta, Sturaro and Zaza shouldn't have been in the squad, Bonaventura, Jorgiho and Giovinco should have been and I feel would have done better, We also need to think about replacing bbbc
on the 8th July, 2016 at 1:55pm
What i learned from the the german/france game last night is just how stupid conte is! Imagine if he had put insigne and SES on in the 60th min! We would have closed the game. Everyone banging on about the 'invincible' german side and how 'proud' we should be of what we achieved should stop watching football! Conte is the reason we are out. We shouldnt have even gone to penalties!
on the 8th July, 2016 at 12:44pm
Balotelli or Giovinco against Germany n sorely missed De Rossi. Maybe Conte could've put Insigne on earlier or put on El Sharaawy to try n stretch the Germans in extra time but consider Italy were missing arguably there 2 strongest midfielder's in Candreva n De Rossi n the 4-1 loss was still strong in the mind.Yet, even with a depleted squad they took the World champs to sudden death. If the pens had gone better, everyone would be saying Conte is a genius. Giacch is good, see. He should get 8
on the 8th July, 2016 at 7:28am
As n Englishman I must say Italians should be nothing but proud of this squad. The unity, passion n hard graft they showed was amazing. Tactically stubborn? At least they have a formation that everyone knows n were a true unit. De Sciglio was far better than a 6 n Chiellini burst out of defense to start attacks numerous times with the ball. Well done to all of them. I just hope that now Italy do start to give their youth a n more flair player's a chance. Ironically, they could've done with a -
on the 8th July, 2016 at 7:16am
STOP THE WORRY!!!!! Italy will qualify as usual and will make the final of the WC2018....no doom and gloom with our future
on the 8th July, 2016 at 1:39am
Italy will never win a championship without some players who can stoke fear in the opponent by scoring. Balotelli could have been that if he wasn't lazy and undisciplined
on the 8th July, 2016 at 12:32am
JUST a note to ya`ll Conte is a great COACH and a great motivator and a tenacious fella,He really is.This Game could`ve went the other way if he wasn`t too stubborn in his 352 formation.I mean he`d rather field or pick players to fit his 352 system than to alternate his own ideas.Thats where Allegri is technically the more gifted coach at Juventus,I mean 2 scudettos 2 coppa Italia,And champions league final.Also he was Abramovitch`s 1st choice this year for Chelsea,,JUST SAYING Facts are Facts.
on the 7th July, 2016 at 8:22pm
@forzaItalia I concur with you on that comment about Italy being weak in the middle.Lets not forget Germany had a far more superior mid team than Italy`s depleted midfield.Thats where Conte shoulda capitalised on a 442 or 4411 system where both defensive left&right wingbacks coulda pressed up with the far left&right mids...where both innermids woulda linked up with the 2 strikers side by side meaning it woulda opened up the middle.I MEAN HECK WE DID THAT IN 2006 WITH 442,4411,4141 FORMATIONS.
on the 7th July, 2016 at 8:10pm
@Anonymous I totally agree with your comment as anyone that did not think Bonucci was Italy's best player has something wrong with their TV, vision or way of judging good play. For Italy's sake I hope Ventura was not serious when he stated that he is looking to build upon this Italy. He is not Conte and this team would not thrive at all under another manager. He has got to incoporate far more flair players and get rid of dead wood. Also not too thrilled that Buffon wants to carry on.
on the 7th July, 2016 at 5:42pm
Buffon 8..Barzagli 8. Bonucci 9. Chielini 8.5. DeSc 8. Florenzi 7. Darmian 6.5. Giac 7 (dispossed too often). Parolo 7. DDR 6.5 (always injured). Motta 5. Stuararo 5. Pelle 7. Eder 6.5. Insigne 6.5. Immobile 6. El NA. Bernadeschi NA.
on the 6th July, 2016 at 4:26pm
I have many mixed feelings. Conte's ability to motivate should be lauded but at the same time, it has always been his strength. I do question his selections. He brought so many true strikers, and so little midfield depth. He called it a lack of quality but Giac, Stuararo, and Parolo, were all we had left. DDR is always an injury concern. Motta is too slow. This team needed a dose of Jorghino or Bona.This team was built around bbbc, with a bunch of runners...Italy should have won this tournament
on the 6th July, 2016 at 4:22pm
Italy did well in the tournament but Conte insisting on playing a 5-3-2 formation is what held Italy back. Its such a defensive formation.I understand Conte wanted to play the BBC I would've played a 4-3-3 formation.Buffon DeSciglio Bonucci Chiellini Florenzi Motta DeRossi Bernardeschi Insigne ElS Pelle.More creativity in this side and would've given Germany something to worry about when they were committing men forward.Insigne and ELS had good seasons while eder was useless last season.
on the 6th July, 2016 at 4:21pm
@Jesus Duck These ratings may be awful but you giving Bonucci a 6.5 is absolutely assinine. Bonucci was Italy's best player in this tourney. He was as rock solid as the rest of the backline, was playing dangerous balls out of the back and even scored our most important goal up til that point. He did it all and never missed a beat. Moronic judgement.
on the 6th July, 2016 at 3:41pm
How can Bonucci have more than Chiello? He was a wreck against Ireland, completely abysmal, and threw away basically all passes against Germany, made so many mistakes, was forced out of duels completely owned by Morata, however a great game against Belgium.

Bonucci: 6.5
Barzagli: 8
Chiello: 9
De Rossi: 8
Candreva: 8
De Sciglio: 7.5

Those were the highlighting players, jesus lord ...
on the 6th July, 2016 at 12:35pm
Antonio Conte - 9
Gianluigi Buffon - 9
Mattia De Sciglio - 6
Giorgio Chiellini - 8
Matteo Darmian - 5
Angelo Ogbonna - 3
Antonio Candreva - 6
Simone Zaza - 1
Alessandro Florenzi - 7
Graziano Pellè - 6
Thiago Motta - 1
Ciro Immobile - 4
Salvatore Sirigu - 5
Stefano Sturaro - 5
Andrea Barzagli - 9
Daniele De Rossi - 6
Eder - 6
Marco Parolo - 7
Leonardo Bonucci - 8
Lorenzo Insigne - 6
Federico Bernardeschi - 5
Stephan El Shaarawy - 5
Emanuele Giaccherini - 8
on the 5th July, 2016 at 9:35pm
Motta at 6 which is same as Giaccherini? Frankly speaking i just don't understand how he manages to get selected into the squad. Lacks skills and motivation..... i've never seen him run hard enough (including the last Euro appearances)
on the 5th July, 2016 at 9:00pm
Antonio Conte 9/10
on the 5th July, 2016 at 7:03pm
I know these are all your opinion but man, the ratings are too similar for players that did far more than others. You are too obsessed with possession in your analysis, like Spain is in their games. I would base my analysis of impact rather than possession. Giac was easily Italy's best midfielder, Eder and Pelle were excellent. Immobile should get a 3 or 4.
on the 5th July, 2016 at 6:05pm
These ratings remind me of the exam scene in the movie Summer School: c..c..c..c..c..c.. lol. Motta and zazza the same score as De Sciglio Giacc and Florenzi? among other absurd comparisons. Take your eyes off the ball, Swan. DeSci was impenetrable considering he was attacked relentlessly in both spain and germ. lack of offense against only Ger clearly evidenced by DDR absence,yet it's his attack you cite as a liability? weird.
on the 5th July, 2016 at 5:34pm
Im not sure about any of these ratings other than bonuccis, the entire back line deserved very high marks for Italy, especially after our ravaged midfield! and the understudies we were forced to play with, this should be the end of the tiago mottas
sturrao is a filler as is marco parrollo, Conte's Italy proved going forward that you can play an organized game with many fillers and still find success sciglio, florenzi, darmian verratti's insigne's will be a good foundation going forward
on the 5th July, 2016 at 4:43pm

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