Italy have just concluded their final friendly before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and it seems like the Azzurri have been asleep for these friendlies. While a 1-1 draw is certainly better than the 2-1 loss they suffered to Mexico, the current World Cup champions seem pretty ordinary before the tournament kicks off.
The game started and became very quickly an uphill battle for Italy, it was the Udinese man Gokhan Inler who started the scoring in the 10th minute. The Swiss man rifled a shot from 25-yards out into the bottom right corner giving Marchetti no chance. It took Italy just four minutes to equalize with Montolivo crossing the ball in for Quagliarella to header in with his second attempt. The rest of the game was fairly equal, but Switzerland had the better chances, Chiellini had great last-ditch tackle, and Marchetti had to save a couple of long-range missiles sent his way. In the end, Italy were unable to get a win against Switzerland, the current world champions unable to defeat the 24th ranked team in the FIFA rankings. This troubles me just a little bit.
While some may point to the strange statistic that in 1982 and in 2006, Italy drew 1-1 with Switzerland before winning the World Cup both of those years, I point to the fact that Italy are having serious trouble. Serious trouble in defensive solidity, attacking creativity, creating chances, scoring goals, and in the end, winning games.
Here are some statistics that should worry you about the Azzurri’s chances in the 2010 World Cup:
- Out of their last 5 friendly matches, Italy have only won one.
- In their last 5 friendlies, Italy have conceded 3 goals, and have only scored 3.
- And in these last 5 friendlies, only one of these teams (the Netherlands) are above them in the FIFA rankings, all the rest are at least 12 positions below them.
In my opinion, these three statistics are very unsettling. How can a team which won the last World Cup be playing so badly and without direction? It seems like it might have to do with Lippi’s squad selection although the man that was controversially included (Quagliarella) scored Italy’s only goal this game. What do you think? Be sure to share your thoughts by commenting below.