With Italy out of the 2010 World Cup, we have plenty of time to plan for the future and avoid any mistakes we made in this tournament. So it’s important to know what Italy did wrong, the mistakes that cost us dearly in the World Cup, making us end up last in the group, behind New Zealand… So what should Italy avoid to do next time around?
1. Italy had little to no inspiration, and this was probably the biggest mistake of all. Lippi picked and played a team which lacked creative players; the type of players that can unlock the 0-0 stalemates and pick the team up with a moment of genius like we saw from Quagliarella. Italy missed a player which made defenders tremble with fear, a player that could dribble past two and finish with a blistering shot, a player to unlock defenses with a sublime chip or through ball. While Quagliarella was great, I think that Italy could’ve certainly used Cassano, Balotelli, or Giuseppe Rossi to add flair and creativity to the team
2. Italy’s second-biggest mistake was the age of the players involved, Lippi decided to go with his middle-aged buddies of 2006. While middle-aged might be a bit of an exageration, these players are old, tired, and just can’t run anymore. Cannavaro could’ve had more assists than any other player in the team, just with the slight problem that he gave the opposing team the goal-scoring opportunities with his mistakes. Camoranesi and Gattuso were about as dynamic as rocks in some parts of the matches, barely jogging around as they misplaced passes and gave the ball away. It was depressing watching a team walk around hoping that somehow in the end they’d find a goal. Lippi picked an old team and mixed in a few youngsters probably hoping that the less-experienced players would learn from the veterans, but I don’t think that idea turned out very well.
3. Tactical insecurity would probably be the best way to sum this point up: as I watched the games, I never felt like the players knew their tactical duties 100%. While the back-line was often relatively organized, with the full-backs rising up to attack when needed, it seemed like the forwards and especially the midfielders were confused about their positions. At the center of midfield Montolivo often disappeared at the beginning of games, leaving a distressed De Rossi to deal with way too many things at once. Marchisio for me was a disaster this World Cup with his inability to establish himself clearly in any position Lippi put him in. Pepe was running all over the place as he tried to help his teammates out in just about all the positions. Often things were in dissarray with Lippi constantly trying to change the formation from a 4-2-3-1, to a4-4-2, and then to a 4-3-3, all in one match.
4. The young talent isn’t shining as bright as it’s supposed to, many young players which could’ve and should’ve made their breakthrough this World Cup didn’t, they seemed nervous, scared, and inexperienced. I’m especially talking about Marchisio, a player I had a lot of hopes on, who just played terribly no matter what position he was put in. I also think that Criscito wasn’t performing well, and because of this Italy lacked a bit of width on the left, but he did a relatively good defensive job. When Pazzini was given 15 minutes to shine by Lippi, I don’t recall him touching the ball, I didn’t notice the fact that he was on until he went to get a drink of water from the bench near Lippi. I think that Montolivo only showed up in the latter stages of games, often spraying passes with imprecision during the first half giving the ball away to disappoint in his Pirlo-like role. I am being a bit harsh with the criticism on these younger players, but when I saw Ozil (21 years old), Khedira (23 years old), and Muller (20 years old) all play truly brilliant games for Germany, I’m a bit disappointed in our Italian youngsters.
5. I think a mistake that the FIGC made quite some time before this World Cup was calling back Lippi, I don’t think he was the right man for this tournament. When they called back Lippi, they called back his arrogance, his attitude, and his style, which for me are all disadvantages for Italy. While I can’t say who the FIGC should’ve put as head coach, I think that there were plenty of good choices like Ancelotti, Gasperini, or even Mazzarri. All three are quality managers that could’ve imposed a fresh new outlook and style for Italy, and even if they didn’t perform this World Cup with the young players, they could’ve carried them on to the Euro 2012 and maybe the 2014 World Cup.
Where do you think Italy went wrong? Do you agree or disagree with the points made? Feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below!