Luciano Spalletti is expected to make four changes to Italy’s line-up against Croatia but the CT attitude and words during a pre-match press conference prove there will be more variations tonight, writes Lorenzo Bettoni.

Italy CT Spalletti was confident that the Azzurri would play on par with Spain on Thursday, but the pitch’s verdict was entirely different. La Roja dominated the game, leaving Italy with no shots on target while Gigio Donnarumma produced eight saves.

Italian pundits blamed Spalletti not only for Italy’s poor performance but also for his attitude, suggesting that he and his players had not been humble enough.

“I want to see an Italy that repeats the same good performance even against one of the biggest schools of football in the world,” Spalletti said before the Spain game last week. “We should not take breaks and show a crazy desire to prove we are also an important school.”

When a Spanish journalist asked him whether La Roja play the best brand of football in Europe, Spalletti’s reply was quite scornful: “There are many countries that play positive attacking football and Spain are one of those, but you are not the only country to do so.”

The coach’s attitude at a pre-match press conference last night was very different.

“Talk is cheap, you have to walk the walk rather than talk the talk because we were not able to show certain things we said against Spain. We need to walk the walk and leave talk to one side,” he said.

The CT will likely change four players against Croatia leaving Davide Frattesi, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Gianluca Scamacca and Federico Dimarco on the bench, but even if the Azzurri will still try to keep the ball and dominate possession, their approach will also be slightly different.

Every word Spalletti said on Italy changes, Croatia, Dimarco and Di Lorenzo

“We will try to have substance and maybe play uglier but have greater substance, so make sure they don’t tap into their ability,” Spalletti admitted.

“We also want to play in their own half and not sit back, which is always risky.

“We want to play our game even if Croatia have more experience and, to some extent, more technical. Aside from the game’s pace, there will be moments when we’ll need to slow down.”

The Azzurri may have two results available, as even a draw will qualify them for the Round of 16, but Croatia’s experience and need for the three points will put Spalletti’s men under severe pressure in Leipzig tonight.

The Certaldo-born coach dreams of changing Italy’s footballing identity and mentality by starting a new course based on attacking football, high pressing and quick transitions. He’s been able to do so a few times during his ten-month tenure, but at the same time, he’s aware that the essential thing tonight will be to avoid a defeat and get a ticket for Berlin where Switzerland are waiting for their opponent in the Round of 16.

One thought on “Italy will change more than just four players against Croatia as Spalletti’s attitude suggests”
  1. Chopping and changing lineups whilst at the tournament is not a good sign at all. The reaction to that 1-0 defeat has been way over the top.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *