Friday September 2 2016
No need to panic

Italy lost their fourth straight friendly against France on Thursday, but Livio Caferoglu saw enough in Bari to suggest a bright future under Giampiero Ventura awaits.

Here we go again. A new Italy Coach after a major tournament, debuting with a friendly defeat. Indeed, the only CT to have won their first game since the turn of the millennium was Antonio Conte two years ago, so Giampiero Ventura finds himself in esteemed company alongside the ilk of Dino Zoff, Giovanni Trapattoni and Marcello Lippi. However, none of them lost 3-1 to France as the former Torino boss did on Thursday in Bari.

In Ventura’s defence, the result came after just three days of him working with the squad, who themselves have only recently returned to competitive football. Naturally, the Coach preferred to keep the crux of the side that reached the Euro 2016 quarter-finals – and were cruelly beaten on penalties by Germany – and that also meant he stuck with his predecessor’s 3-5-2 system, Davide Astori and Giacomo Bonaventura the only new faces from the outset.

The first impressions given by Ventura’s Italy were a team not much different to that managed by Conte. Torino scored eight goals from corners last season – only Milan and Juventus netted more – and his troops should’ve taken the lead in just the second minute, when Graziano Pelle met the first of 10 deliveries at Steve Mandanda’s near post first time but couldn’t hit the ball on target.

Indeed, the veteran put great emphasis on the wings, demonstrated by Italy’s 35 crosses – some 25 more than what France could muster – and Pelle’s fine finish as he turned and shot past Mandanda from Eder’s low cross. Aside from that, Conte’s possession-based style and high pressing was maintained, which saw the country complete almost 200 more passes than their opponents, plus make more interceptions and recoveries.

However, the defensive organisation that embodied Conte’s reign was severely lacking. Granted, Leonardo Bonucci was missing in action, but Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini did not enjoy their finest hours on the international stage. The latter was particularly poor as he was at fault for France’s first two goals, his misjudgement gifting Anthony Martial the opener and failure to pick up Olivier Giroud resulting in the striker volleying past Gianluigi Buffon.

Barzagli and Chiellini are now well beyond the wrong side of 30, and questions have unsurprisingly been asked about their future in the Italy set-up, given the emergence of Daniele Rugani and Alessio Romagnoli. Yet through no fault of their own, the pair are not afforded the same level of midfield protection by their country as they do Juventus, making the contributions of Marco Parolo and Daniele De Rossi all the more important.

Normally known for their industry and tactical awareness, Parolo and De Rossi were sluggish on the night, while Bonaventura was largely ineffective before he was replaced by Milan clubmate Riccardo Montolivo. The Rossoneri captain cuts a much-maligned figure but was more influential in his half-hour on the pitch, although he was guilty of slowing play down too much on occasions. A proactive midfield is crucial for Ventura’s adventurous plans to bear fruit.

Nonetheless, there are more reasons to be optimistic than pessimistic. Gianluigi Donnarumma became Italy’s youngest-ever international at just 17 years old, and while he shouldn’t have conceded Layvin Kurzawa’s clincher at his near post, he is destined to replace Buffon for years to come. Ventura has also revealed since his PR blunder that he may adopt a 4-2-4 formation, opening the door for the Azzurri’s best attacking talent to flourish. It will be a bumpy ride to Russia but an exciting one.

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Have your say...
No need to panic??? No. There is plenty of need to panic. This man is ridiculously out of his depth! From Torino to Italy! No! No! No!
I think we will struggle to reach the World Cup. I think even the best manager would struggle with the lack of top quality players we have add to that the fact that this man has no idea what he is doing and i think we will all be left with a terrible amount of heartache! What an end for a footballing nation loke Italy! We are beyond saving.
on the 3rd September, 2016 at 5:39pm
a 4:3:3
de silvestri-bonucci-chiellini-de sciglio



dis is bst one with availiable players pls no barzagli,parolo,eder,immobile,astori,marchetti,montolivo any more...
y parolo alwys playing???soriano,beassi,basselli there....

ventura mst realise he is CT not Conte's assistant..

on the 3rd September, 2016 at 5:59am

2 Napoletani heading the attack? That would never ever be allowed to happen, not in a million years.
on the 2nd September, 2016 at 8:28pm
Seriously Pelle and Eder make good reservists not starters. Clearly to compete at a world cup level we need the likes of Insigne Giovinco Pharoah and give the new blood a chance Pavoletti, Lapadula, Gabbiadini and see what they can do.
on the 2nd September, 2016 at 4:29pm
this is a meaningless result. Italy are awful in friendlies, especially in September.
The real issue is with the forwards. I cannot remember another time when our forward talent pool was this bad. In years past Pelle and zaza would have never been on this team.
on the 2nd September, 2016 at 4:14pm
I'm not worried,Ventura can't just throw 5 new young players in if we get beaten in Israel it's a tough group he needs to use conte's team 1-2 game and slowly start changing it by all accounts it was defence that cost us so don't worry we will be ok
on the 2nd September, 2016 at 4:03pm
there are certain players like benassi berradi baselli who have been left out who offer a lot of promise in a future Italian side. I think the main issue for ventura is the passing of the old guard and he is going to managed this change. It is going to interesting to see how ventura is able to guide a young Italian side hopefully into achieving qualification for the world cup.
on the 2nd September, 2016 at 3:51pm
The new coach has no clue.......It started with the players in selected and the game itself. Playing with 3 in the back is a big mistake. I think we should revert back to a 4-4-2.....Call Berardi and Giavinco....I'm very pessimistic in regards to this team and this coach...........
on the 2nd September, 2016 at 1:22pm
Disappointing scoreline, however, some good attacking play. Donnarumma would've saved those that Buffon let in I'm sure!! He does look the real deal and the true successor to the great Buffon.
on the 2nd September, 2016 at 12:25pm
On the night, Italy had chances to finish off the game but it was never going to be. I think Italy needs an option to the Pelle and Eder combination as games progress. It is becoming predictable and easy to work around it by the opposing teams. It is time to try Lorenzo Insigne and maybe Ciro Immobile as well as options.
on the 2nd September, 2016 at 12:06pm

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