mercoledì 20 giugno 2012

Italy vs Ireland

Heading into its Group stage crucial match, the question for Italy was: how do you solve the goal scoring issue? Against Ireland, Cesare Prandelli confused the folks from the starting lineup. He made various changes, using a 4-3-1-2 pattern with Thiago Motta as attacking midfielder behind the striker duo of Antonio Di Natale and Antonio Cassano, while Daniele De Rossi was back as interior midfielder alongside Andrea Prilo e Claudio Marchisio. The change from a 3-men back line to a 4-men defense created some initial unbalances as Ireland had a scoring chance just few seconds after the game start.  Italy have been slow and found problems to gain the gaps between Ireland's defensive and midfield's lines.

Thiago Motta sat too deeper to play the attacking midfielder role. That's why Prandelli asked Marchisio to help Motta in that zones, sharing the No. 10 duties between them. The Azzurri created few scoring chances and it would have been a very different game hadn't Cassano and Balotelli scored on set-pieces. Italy relied few on Federico Balzaretti. Sometimes it was Cassano to come back and play in this dangerous - for a 4-4-2 formation - zone. But his movement wasn't follow by cutting inside runs made by the midfielders, specially when Cassano moved outside, on his usual movement, leaving free spaces in the middle. In the second half Italy had the opportunity to play on fast-breaks but they was unable to exploit those situations. During both halfs they was unable to shift quikly from defense to attack: the transitions game wasn't here. Once again, Italy had a great performance by De Rossi. But the team were particularly unimpressive and concerns about fitness shape proved founded as Italians went down after one hour of the game. Italy didn't show yet they can succeed with attacking football. The scores was coming from set plays. The good news is that Italy gained two full-backs as Balzaretti and Ignazio Abate that dominated the line. Specially Barlzaretti was good traking up and down the left side.

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