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Group A (Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales)


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35 minutes ago, HTT II said:

Right now aye, but before the tournament?

 

I don't think they were too far away. Always seen a potential contender but expected to fall short against the likes of France.

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My favourite thing about this Italy setup is how un-Italian it is.  I've been watching Italian national sides since the early 90s and always wondered why they mostly insisted on shutting up shop at 1-0 in an attempt to kill the game, despite the amazing attacking talent they always have in their side.  It's like they would intentionally make it difficult for themselves as it was in their DNA to do so, when they could have doubtless steamrolled most sides with different tactics.

 

Ironically this isn't anywhere near the most gifted set of attackers they've ever had but they are playing with so much energy and freedom now.  Hope they don't go into their shell against better sides because they look like they could cause anyone problems at the moment.

 

 

Edited by Interpolic

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Italy look pretty good but they’ve not played anyone decent for (literally) years. The Netherlands are the best team they’ve played since 2018, and they’re not exactly great.

 

I’ve a feeling they’ll get taken apart by someone like France or a more possession-hungry side like Spain.

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40 minutes ago, Interpolic said:

My favourite thing about this Italy setup is how un-Italian it is.  I've been watching Italian national sides since the early 90s and always wondered why they mostly insisted on shutting up shop at 1-0 in an attempt to kill the game, despite the amazing attacking talent they always have in their side.  It's like they would intentionally make it difficult for themselves as it was in their DNA to do so, when they could have doubtless steamrolled most sides with different tactics.

 

Ironically this isn't anywhere near the most gifted set of attackers they've ever had but they are playing with so much energy and freedom now.  Hope they don't go into their shell against better sides because they look like they could cause anyone problems at the moment.

 

I think anybody who has watched Serie A over the last 4-5 years wouldn't be so surprised. This shift has been happening for a long time - and I made the point recently. The decline in overall quality in the league, fewer benefactor owners, and the reduction of financial stakes at play - has actually in my opinion improved the style of football being played across the board. New managers are tending to be much more progressive and free-spirited. It's reflected that Serie A has more goals per games than any other major league last season - higher even than the Bundesliga.

 

This current national side is benefitting from it in terms of both formation and style of play:

  • Insigne and Jorginho are basically playing their exact roles they played in Sarri's Napoli. A side that got 92 points playing fantastic possession football. 
  • De Zerbi was obviously inspired a lot by Sarri's Napoli - and Sassuolo have played much to the same template. This has benefited with Locatelli and Berardi fitting into the same system.
  • Atalanta under Gasperini play a different style of football, are more transitional and rely on the wing-backs. But are still very cavalier in style. Spinazzola came through their academy and made his name playing in that team - and although nominally playing in a back four the system allows him to get forward almost at will.
  • Lazio under Inzaghi have generally played entertaining, technical counter attacking football. Immobile has massively thrived as a player in this system and it (along with a lot of penalties) helped him to the Golden Shoe. While he will always miss chances, and is a level down form being a top class player, his movement and energy is a massive asset. 

Mancini needs full credit for picking the best players available, building the side around the player's strengths and in a system they're used to playing in. Lest not forget that when Italy didn't qualify for the World Cup - Ventura had the likes of Jorginho and Insigne (starring for Napoli at that time) but was choosing to not play them. 

 

 

Edited by ponsaelius

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The mad thing is Immobile, Insigne and Verratti all came through playing in the same Pescara side in 2011-12, then starred in the same Italy U-21 side that lost to Spain in 2013. Berardi was also scoring 16 and 15 league goals a season between 2013 and 2015 as 19/20 year old.

 

Yet it has taken until they're 31, 30, 28 and 26 respectively to become key starting players going into a major tournament. Admittedly with Verratti there is mitigating circumstances with injuries. But this is a big failing with Italian football in not transitioning to younger players and sticking with them, both at club level and international level. You have to be pretty much a generational talent like Donnarumma to see the pitch at a young age.

 

It's still happening now. While I understand Mancini wanting to rely on Bonucci and Chiellini's experience - Alessandro Bastoni was the best Italian defender in the league last year by a mile but hasn't seen the pitch for a minute yet. Even when they went to a back 3 last night 30 year old Brazilian Toloi was preferred instead. 

 

 

Edited by ponsaelius

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6 hours ago, ponsaelius said:

 

I think anybody who has watched Serie A over the last 4-5 years wouldn't be so surprised. This shift has been happening for a long time - and I made the point recently. The decline in overall quality in the league, fewer benefactor owners, and the reduction of financial stakes at play - has actually in my opinion improved the style of football being played across the board. New managers are tending to be much more progressive and free-spirited. It's reflected that Serie A has more goals per games than any other major league last season - higher even than the Bundesliga.

 

This current national side is benefitting from it in terms of both formation and style of play:

  • Insigne and Jorginho are basically playing their exact roles they played in Sarri's Napoli. A side that got 92 points playing fantastic possession football. 
  • De Zerbi was obviously inspired a lot by Sarri's Napoli - and Sassuolo have played much to the same template. This has benefited with Locatelli and Berardi fitting into the same system.
  • Atalanta under Gasperini play a different style of football, are more transitional and rely on the wing-backs. But are still very cavalier in style. Spinazzola came through their academy and made his name playing in that team - and although nominally playing in a back four the system allows him to get forward almost at will.
  • Lazio under Inzaghi have generally played entertaining, technical counter attacking football. Immobile has massively thrived as a player in this system and it (along with a lot of penalties) helped him to the Golden Shoe. While he will always miss chances, and is a level down form being a top class player, his movement and energy is a massive asset. 

Mancini needs full credit for picking the best players available, building the side around the player's strengths and in a system they're used to playing in. Lest not forget that when Italy didn't qualify for the World Cup - Ventura had the likes of Jorginho and Insigne (starring for Napoli at that time) but was choosing to not play them. 

 

 

 

 

6 hours ago, ponsaelius said:

The mad thing is Immobile, Insigne and Verratti all came through playing in the same Pescara side in 2011-12, then starred in the same Italy U-21 side that lost to Spain in 2013. Berardi was also scoring 16 and 15 league goals a season between 2013 and 2015 as 19/20 year old.

 

Yet it has taken until they're 31, 30, 28 and 26 respectively to become key starting players going into a major tournament. Admittedly with Verratti there is mitigating circumstances with injuries. But this is a big failing with Italian football in not transitioning to younger players and sticking with them, both at club level and international level. You have to be pretty much a generational talent like Donnarumma to see the pitch at a young age.

 

It's still happening now. While I understand Mancini wanting to rely on Bonucci and Chiellini's experience - Alessandro Bastoni was the best Italian defender in the league last year by a mile but hasn't seen the pitch for a minute yet. Even when they went to a back 3 last night 30 year old Brazilian Toloi was preferred instead. 

 

 

 


 

Check out Mina Rzouki over here.

 

Nah that’s great reading, thanks for the analysis.

 

 

Edited by Tomato Deuce

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Best of luck to Wales, I sincerely hope they do well. One of my longer term Euros bets is for Italy to win the competition, so today will presumably be the beginning of the Italians slide.

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