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Sunday June 23 2013
Not all bad with Brazil

Italy were defeated 4-2 by the Seleçao, but Susy Campanale saw plenty of positives in Salvador de Bahia.

If nothing else, at least this Confederations Cup campaign can silence those armchair pundits who still believe Catenaccio exists in Italian football. Conceding eight goals in three group games – and scoring just as many – is the antithesis of ‘go 1-0 up and shut up shop’ clichés. At times the Azzurri played football every bit as spectacular as the Seleçao, complete with Mario Balotelli’s scorpion back-heel flick to set up Emanuele Giaccherini’s goal. As always, what they lack is consistency, but there were flashes of something truly wonderful and they can build on that.

Perhaps Cesare Prandelli ought to surreptitiously move all the clocks so the team think a game is going to start an hour earlier. It might finally get the players to wake up some time before the 30th minute of a match. I’m so tired of seeing Italy start with what looks like a hangover, stumbling around at half-speed and passing the ball straight to their opponents. The side always picks up in the second half for a rousing performance, so the problem has to be psychological. I’ve never seen so many misplaced passes in such a short amount of time, so it was no wonder Italy couldn’t get out of their own half in those early stages. You could also blame Prandelli for these poor starts, as his initial tactical choices rarely prove correct and adjustments contribute to the team settling in during the game.

There were plenty of positives to enjoy in Salvador de Bahia. A team without Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi still managed to put Brazil under sustained pressure and a 3-3 draw would’ve been a more fitting result. Mattia De Sciglio is growing in confidence at his tender age and even Christian Maggio put in a half-decent performance as a right-back. Antonio Candreva and Giaccherini may not be glamorous figures, but they are very handy utility players when called upon. Was finding strength in depth and gaining international experience not the reason for playing in this warm-up tournament?

Much of the criticism from fans and media has been aimed at Gianluigi Buffon after these three Confederations Cup games. People are bandying around phrases like ‘he’s past it’ or ‘it’s time for a younger goalkeeper.’ I shan’t stand for it. Buffon remains the best goalie in Italy and any disappointment with recent performances is just a reflection of how much he has spoilt us over the years. We cannot always expect Gigi to come to the rescue with miraculous saves, so it’s about time the rest of the team step up and give him some protection. It’s true he has started parrying a few too many shots into danger zones, but I am confident he will watch these videos and work on that weakness in training. Let’s not start writing his career obituary yet!

There are good things in this 4-2 defeat to Brazil. Prandelli, his men and the fans must focus on the positive and build on promising foundations rather than get out the wrecking ball. 

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Have your say...
I thought Italy had the beating of Spain in Euro 2012. It was just bad luck and some bad decisions from the manager than made the scoreline so flattering. Spain are in decline and there is nothing to fear from Brazil, throw Veratti into the mix with a more mature Balotelli and El Sharawaay. We are serious contenders to win it in 2014.
on the 2nd July, 2013 at 8:20pm
As an Italian fan, it's just always dissapointing to see Italy usually amongst the last 4 teams, semis or final only to see them stumble at the last hurdle..In the 90's it was Brazil,then we couldn't beat France for a while, now Spain are getting the better of us lately.All those shoot-out loses over the last 20 yrs are a result of confidence and fear not bad luck!! Believe and you will win!! Germany always believe and always win shootout'S.Imagine if Italy had Germany record,how MANY TITLES!!!
on the 28th June, 2013 at 2:44pm
Italy historically have always had the technical skills to win titles however their psychological belief has more often than not let them down at the moment of truth.They always believe their opponent is better than them.Show respect,yes,but not fear.Once Italy begins to really believe then good things will happen and they will creat their own luck...once you believe you will get lucky as well..Spain admitted to a tough game but believed so much that fate and luck went their way!!!
on the 28th June, 2013 at 2:35pm
@ l'albanese

Relax my friend,I'm proud of how Italy played as well.They too however were surprised in their performance.The only difference between the 2 sides on this day was belief!!!
Fate is what we make of ourselves and Spain just believed in winning more.Prior to Euro 08 Spain have never had a winning mentality but pay reference to that first shootout win against Italy that gave them their almost unshakable belief now.
on the 28th June, 2013 at 2:26pm
@AzzurriHopful

Eat your words now, how stupid does that make you look writing rubbish like that. Italy played a great game tonight and they did the same in the group stages in Euro against Spain. The only things that made Spain look good and win in the final was Prandellis fault (hopefully he learned his lesson) and level fitness. AZZURRIHOPFUL TOTAL RUBBISH!!!

FORZA ITALIA
on the 28th June, 2013 at 12:59am
Italy not need worry though as all teams have the same problem with Spain.They are light years ahead of everyone right now and should be likely winners to reatin the cup next year.They not only manage and dictate play game per game but incredibly minute per minute of each and every game over the last 7yrs..Everyone talks about how to stop Spain?? The only way is to train young players to hold on to the ball through the youth academies and juvenile teams,however this will take yrs
on the 27th June, 2013 at 2:32am
As I said earlier Italy can not match Spain in any aspect of the game from technical,tactical,quality,fitness and pure class.If Italy try to go toe to toe and open up they will be picked apart..sad but true.Italy's only option is to save face and not embarrass themselves by breaking up play and closing down any spaces as best they can.By focusing on that they will not mount much of an attack or little else.I am an Italian through and through and wish Italy a good game but Spain will win 2-0
on the 27th June, 2013 at 2:23am
It seems like the comments on this blog will run and run until tomorrow evening (great!!!)@ Daniel Giambrone as I mentioned in another blog under Prandelli Italy are playing some of the best football I can remember. The performances in the first game against Spain and England and Germany in Euro 2012 were probably better than any under Lippi (apart from the semi-final against Germany in 2006). And Prandelli has a much weaker team. The criticism is harsh to say the least
on the 26th June, 2013 at 6:05pm
Maldini'sHeir, its a case of perception. I don't view it as a friendly cup, I view it as an international competition. Obviously it's not the WC or EC, but it is still a trophy. Look at how seriously Spain are treating it! As for Prandelli's competitive record, I think that we have been very lucky to have avoided further defeats, eg the CR & Bulgaria. I don't want Prandelli to go, but I do think that his indecisions are transmitting their way to the players.
on the 26th June, 2013 at 10:09am
Soldato65, you're right about Gilardino, but the rest of your post made no sense. Viviano for Buffon? Viviano is useless! Buffon has had a dip in form, but at his worst he is still much better than the flapping ex Viola man. Ranocchia is too static & he stands off too much. Santon cannot defend to save his life & has lived off his debut performance against CR7.
on the 26th June, 2013 at 9:55am
CP needs to learn from his mistakes and make amends. One of the flaws in his game plan is his ineffective use of subs. Surely, as a coach you must take players who are capable of making a difference - not just make up numbers. Maggio, Aqua, Giaca and Cerci are not the type of players who should make up the Italian subs bench. I'm afraid Italy is in for another defeat - maybe not 4-0 - but I can not see them troubling the Spanish in any way. They just dont have the players to do that - FULL STOP.
on the 26th June, 2013 at 9:29am
'Testing' another system.. playing gilardino.... get ready to get smashed tomorrow night. Im italian thro and thro but reality is we are just not good enough under prandelli. Defensively shocking equally as shocking up front esp now we have to pin our hopes on one of the most shocking strikers of this generation, I question how gilardino even became a footballer at all. We will crash out tomorrow night and again hear excuses from prandelli about climate/grass/tired!!!!!
on the 26th June, 2013 at 6:52am
Prandelli is giving us some change. I'll take it. It can't be worse than the 2 CB set up. He is showing some openness to different 3 CB set ups. There is some progress!

I hope we don't have to see 2 CBs out there ever again.
on the 26th June, 2013 at 3:25am
Everyone on the blog needs to understand one thing.There is no secret to Spain's success.They have built this system over the last 10 yrs investing in youth and allowing them to play.Even once Xavi,Iniesta,etc no longer play they have U21 and U19 to fill in almost seamlessly.Italy was already in crisis when they won WC 06 with an already old team.Lippi didn't help in 2010 either holding on to aging veterans.Italy now wants to change overnight and compete with Spain.Spain is 10yrs ahead of the
on the 26th June, 2013 at 12:37am
If Cp picks Gila before SES then he's a complete moron
on the 26th June, 2013 at 12:34am
@soldato

Lol Monty garbage?? He's consistent in every game. Use ses now that balo won't be playing. Do NOT bring in any other defenders. If its anything Italy have its good defenders.
on the 25th June, 2013 at 8:06pm
anyone who insists that Montolivo is garbage clearly has no business making comments because that opinion clearly shows a lack of understanding of the game and it's players!
on the 25th June, 2013 at 6:14pm
i want to see the 5-3-1-1

Buffon

Maggio (this doesn't italy have better) - Barzagli - Bonucci - Chiellini triangle - De Sciglio

Giacck - De Ross -Pirlo -

Gio

SES

My only problem is Pirlo he's too slow on the counter let's just hope he can still shoot the longball down field because SES/Gio are rockets.
on the 25th June, 2013 at 3:46pm
No matter how you approach this game we're going to lose. The only way we are going to shock this team is to play like Milan did in their first game against Barcelona in CL - everyone back nut in a 5-4-1 formation with the 3 CB in a triangle formation. 4-5-1 worked for Milan because they had guys like Muntari/Boateng/SES. Use SES/Gio/Giacck guys that can control the ball and hit them on the counter attack and we got a good game coning up
on the 25th June, 2013 at 3:31pm
@ Daniel Giambrone and everyone else..but it's not an international tournament. It's a friendly tournament. It doesn't count. Yet people are on here calling for Prandelli's head. Noone seems to have acknowledged the fact he has lost one competitive match. He has one of the worst records in friendlies but who cares. I have faith in Prandelli to deliver when it counts and by deliver I mean I think, depending on luck and injuries, he has a good chance of getting us to the semis next year.
on the 25th June, 2013 at 2:27pm
Buffone has looked shaky everytime he faces an elite team, maybe its time to take a fresh look at Marchetti or even Viviano.. Montolivo is garbage, Gilardino does not deserve to be on the team and Giovinco is overrated...Bring back Ranocchia and Santon to solidify the defense..
on the 25th June, 2013 at 2:06pm
Tahiti won their respective competition to get to these finals. They have also brought a lot of colour & personality to this tournament. I particularly liked the way they gave gifts to their opponents. But on the pitch it doesn't seem right, & waters down the competition. FIFA need to revise qualification criteria for these international tournaments. Too many high quality teams fail to make it to the WC, as they are penalized by their global location.
on the 25th June, 2013 at 11:25am
Here we go, Prandelli getting his excuses in already! God I hate it when they use the word 'suffered'! They are all in an extremely privileged position. Real suffering is right under their noses in the favalas. It is heart breaking seeing how both humans & animals live in those conditions. The only valid excuse, IMO, is that Spain have only really played two games. Tahiti's inclusion has created an uneven playing field. I don't mean to sound elitest, TBC
on the 25th June, 2013 at 11:15am
What a genius prandelli is! Stopping abate Pirlo montivo and now balotelli.
Lulling the Spanish into a false sense of security. He will start with 3-5-2 snatch a goal
Then it's 6-4-0 to keep em out. Funnier things have happened in football but history has shown you can't "play" against Spain. Park the bus, snatch a goal then defend like mad!
Defensively Italy is not what it used to be and also refs now have a say when it comes to marking like the old days. Park the bus a prey!!
on the 25th June, 2013 at 10:41am
I feel Italy will be stuffed by Spain even though I hate to admit it. They got beaten last summer with a strong team and on thursday they will be missing supermario and the players are knackered.
Spain have been immense so far and seem to have bundles of energy. Pedro,iniesta,torres and Alba have all been good. I suppose we could say that they have played bad sides so far but Italy struggled with Japan.
I hope I am wrong but with the defenders playing the way they have, I can't seem Italy winnin
on the 25th June, 2013 at 8:39am
@ paul the octopus

I'd rather see Prandelli throw a spanner in the works then be predictable & vulnerable.

In my humble opinion 3-4-3 would make sense as Gio & Giac would drop back to make it a 3-6-1 formation & assist in midfield, as I said the Azzurri wing backs are ineffective both in attack & defence.

I couldn't agree any less with Marc F, Nigeria approached the game against Spain with the right mentality and they were more physical, pity about the poor finishing.
on the 25th June, 2013 at 8:21am
It will be interesting to see SES play without Balotelli. Perhaps he could regain his Pre-balotelli form ... SES should definitely start.

When Criscito returns to LWB, De Sciligo should move to RWB. Heading towards the world cup, he simply has more upside than Abate and Maggio. I would also like to see Guilio Donati get some time at RWB, he was quite impressive at the U21
on the 25th June, 2013 at 8:15am
Possibly The Azzurri have gone as far as they can in this tournament. I believe they can beat Spain but I am sure that CP came in after the 2nd Lippi era and turn fortunes around, reaching the Euro finals if you remember the 2nd goal was scored during Italys best period & 2 late goals when they were done to 10 men through injury. The Azzurri are now in the confed Cup semi and look certain to qualify for WC14. What more do supporters want from CP. Back him and the players. FORZA AZZURRI
on the 25th June, 2013 at 7:13am
If Prandelli makes the switch to 3 CBs he better have some patience with it. We have a friendly with Argentina and 4 world cup qualification games coming up -- since qualification is pretty much locked down, he needs to use the upcoming matches as training for 3 CB formations.

If he keeps 2 Cbs, honestly, I've seen enough to say: Italy will be too weak in defense to do well.
on the 25th June, 2013 at 4:48am
Players that should have stayed @ home,Midfielders: Aquilani, Cerci, Marchisio, Montolivo.Forwards: Gilardino, Giovinco.Was this really what Prandelli had to choose from! Aquilani - ok assist for Chiellini's goal but whatelse does he bring.. same with Montolivo - "I do what Pirlo does at Milan", well he proved he can't do it for Italy.Marchisio has been non-existent for most of the games. Cerci -- more like cerca meaniing searching for a reason why he's there! And the front-line really!
Forza
on the 24th June, 2013 at 11:58pm

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