Why Italy deservedly went home at the first stage of the World Cup.
I wrote this just after the game with Slovakia, even if it was sent out just now. So, it will not take into consideration what happened after.
I’m basically writing this for myself to alleviate the frustration and the disappointment. But, being Italian, it could be useful for you to read it to have a point of view from the inside.
Italy deservedly went home for technical and structural reasons:
* the wrong way in which the team was put together.
* the wrong players were put on the field.
* very poor performances individually and as a team.
Structural reason: (much more important than the technical !!)
* the chronic impossibility for youth Italian players to be developed properly after 17/18 years old.
The wrong way in which the team was put together.
When Italy won the previous World Cup it was clear that that team had reached his maxim development. It was time to close that chapter and start with a totally new group of players.
If you remember, I remember (!!!!), just a few months after having won the World Cup, Italy and France played a qualification game for the European Cup two years ahead. Even if that couldn’t be considered a rematch for the World Cup, France won greatly !!!!
That should have been a clear signal to the ones in charge that the team was ‘suffering’. But that group remained together and performed poorly at the 2008 European Cup.
Many players of that group are still in this group that was brought to South Africa. And it’s useless for many to keep saying that there are only 9 of that original group of 23, because the 9 are still the core of the team so, basically is the same.
Let me explain here how a National team is USUALLY formed.
Normally it’s formed by taking the core of the top two or three Clubs in each Nation. The reason is obvious. They’re used to playing together so, there is no need to build connections that are already there and well experimented.
So, a defensive block (including the keeper), a mid field block, plus a few forwards or others from other teams, picked individually, even from foreign Clubs.
And here’s where the main problem started. The core of the National team, is not only the one of the last World Cup, but also was picked from Juventus, a team that had a catastrophic season. They classified 7th in the Italian League (Serie A) and from A.C. Milan that also had a disastrous season. A few players from Roma and a few singles from lower team levels.
Why were they picked ?????
Because it was impossible to pick them from Inter Milan, who won the Italian League, the Champions league (Which is the most important Tournament in the World) and the Italian Cup, with a few exceptions, without putting Italian players on the field !!!!!
Please compare the Italian group with Spain’s group that is basically Barcelona and Real Madrid wearing the National jersey !!!!
France, besides the general mess that they put on stage in South Africa, had the opposite problem. All the top players play away spread in dozens of Top Clubs in all of Europe !!!!!
But this is just about how the group was put together, without pointing out the players that were left out.
-Giuseppe Rossi is a mid fielder that makes the whole world envy us !!!!!! He was playing for Manchester United and Sir Ferguson is still biting his nails from the day that he let him leave !!!!
-Alberto Aquilani last year was engaged by Liverpool from Roma for 24 million pounds !!!! Even if he was injured the first few months, when he played was great and Liverpool fans, often, gave him a standing ovation !!!
So, with Gattuso (who played badly for A.C.Milan all season) and Pirlo injured and brought anyway to South Africa hoping that they would get better in time, why did they leave Rossi and Aquilani at home ???? To bring De Rossi ???? Did you see the hole that we had at mild field during the 3 games ????
That was him !!!
And Antonio Cassano ??? Even if, in the past years he was a ‘little unstable’ with is bad character, at this moment he could be considered the most talented Italian player !!! This last season, guided correctly by a great coach, Gigi Del Neri, he performed greatly. But because Lippi (the Italia Coach) doesn’t like him personally, he was left home !!!!!
-Vincenzo Miccoli great forward with 19 goals last season.
-Marco Borriello (14 goals last season, no P.K., in a so-so season of A.C.Milan) is the best Italian center forward, clearly better than Vincenzo Iaquinta with just 6 goals !!!! Why was Iaquinta chosen instead of him?
This list could go on forever. But independent of who was chosen, which is still debatable, talking about who was there……..
The wrong players were put on the field.
Do you remember what Maradona answered when he was asked who would be playing for Argentina?He said: “Mascherano and 10 others !!!!” And to say this, in a team that Lionel Messi plays for, it means that Mascherano is INDISPENSABLE for Argentina !!
So, if it’s true that in soccer/football, in particular at the World Cup, it’s also fundamental to score goals, if you have players on your roster with these performances at home:
Di Natale 29 goals
Pazzini 19 goals
Gilardino 15 goals
Quagiarella 11 goals
Iaquinta 6 goals
who would be a starter on your team ???
As Maradona said, Lippi should have said: “Di Natale plus 10 others!!!!”
How much time did Di Natale play? Almost none !
How much time did Pazzini play? Almost none !
How much time did Quagliarella play? Almost none!
How Much Time did Gilardino play? 1 game in 3 !
Who was always there ? Iaquinta!!!!! Our fifth scorer on the World Cup roster. And if you check the Italian Serie A scorers list of last season:
there are more than 25 Italian players who scored more than Iaquinta in the last season !!!!
When they played in the second half of the last game, who scored almost immediately ?? Di Natale and Quagliarella !!!!
One more time, as Donadoni did at the European Cup, the more you score the less you play !!!!
Could we be more stupid than this ??????
And this was about who was picked and who played. What about the way we played?
Very poor performances individually and as a team.
Italy was famous for her granite defense !!!!
Last World Cup, we allowed just 2 goals in 7 games ( 1 was an accidental own goal.
This time, we allowed 5 goals in 3 games !!!!!
5 goals not scored by great performance by the opponents but instead provoked by 5 incredible defensive mistakes. Mistakes from the ‘supposed’ best defense in the world !!!!
The most incredible was the fifth (the 3-1 with Slovakia) after a throw-in. Even kids know that there is no off-side in this situation. So, how is it possible to mark opponents by staying in front and not behind???
It’s obvious that, by throwing the ball long above the defenders, the forward will sprint and reach the ball alone creating a simple 1v1 with our keeper !!!!
But the worst was the relaxed attitude, the constant wrong passes (I hardly saw in the 3 games …….3,4,5 consecutive passes !!) the constant wrong shots on goal, the inexistent crosses and consequently finishes with the head. (the only thing that, maybe, would have let Iaquinta score!!!)
Only in the last 10 minutes of the game with Slovakia, did I see a team that was giving it’s heart and soul in trying to avoid being kicked out.
And, obviously, that happened just after the genius of soccer/football, PIRLO, entered and, finally, turn on the light in everyone’s brains.
Unfortunately, too little and too late. The damage was done.
The last and most important point is:
A structural reason, which is………
the chronic impossibility for youth Italian players to be developed properly after 17/18 years old.
I can say that Italy, like Spain, France, England, Germany and in particular the Netherlands, has a great soccer/football Academy.
All the top teams have great structures to develop youth talents. And they do that well until they are 16.
At 17/18 the problem starts because there is almost no way to let youth players enter the first team.
The reason is simple. Any top team needs instantaneous results. Win the League, the Champions League, The Europa League, The National Cup and so on.
Also the fans like to see the top super stars play on their team and, it seems, that they don’t care if they are Italian or foreign. But, let’s be honest. How could we not want Messi, Ronaldo, Kaka, Teves, Xavi, Iniesta, Torres and so on in our Clubs?
It’s comprehensible but, this way, where can a youth talent play and develop his talent under the correct pressure of top competition?
Italy has a great problem with the next generation of players, and that’s why we are still relying on players like Cannavaro who from next season will basically retire and go to play in the Middle East with a multi-million contract for few years !!!
That generation of great champions like Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Gattuso, Pirlo, Maldini, Nesta, Inzaghi, Buffon, Materazzi, Grosso, Del Piero, Toni, Totti, is gone and the new ones are unable, for now, to kick in.
Our U21 National team struggles with results in the National Tournaments.
If the European Federations don’t find a way to limit the number of foreign players per club, the situation will get worse.
Spain is saved by Barcelona’s philosophy to rely on their great academy, but Italy‘s Clubs, and probably England with Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and other top Clubs, are filled with foreign players.
By the way, have you noticed that all the South American teams are doing great? That is because, not having hundreds of millions to spend to engage the various Ronaldos and Kakas, all their top youth players from the youth teams academies, go strait to the first teams, where they develop properly and become World Super Stars……………………………..ready to be engaged by the top European teams !!!!
And the cat, keeps trying to catch his tail.
Italy, with Inter Milan, has the top team in Europe, probably in the world, filled with foreign players, but the Italian National team was kicked out at the first stage of the World Cup, with all do respect, by # 31 Paraguay, # 34 Slovakia and #78 New Zealand.
Posted on 03 Jul 2010 by coachgianni