Finally Italy has clicked. While the comeback win against Estonia was a good result, this 5-0 win shows that Prandelli has found harmony within the team. Prandelli’s home debut as the coach of the Italian National team is certainly positive, Cassano inspired the team, and he looks ready to face any opposition. And with this win, Italy take command of the qualifying group at first place with six points, two points ahead of Serbia who are second.
The match at the Stadio Artemio Franchi marks a step forward, Prandelli decided to start with Gilardino center-forward, with Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi supporting him. The midfield three were Pirlo, De Rossi, and Montolivo, and the defense was made up of Antonelli, Bonucci, Chiellini, and De Silvestri in front of Viviano in goal. A good selection from Prandelli, with Pirlo and Cassano acting as the architects which pass and penetrate the Faroe Islands’s defence.
As the match kicked off, the usual Italia fan invaded the pitch, the same one who back in the Lippi days wore a shirt which said, “Cassano in Nazionale”, which means “Cassano in the national team”. This time he went over to Cassano, gave him a kiss on the cheek, and ran off peacefully saying good-bye to Prandelli.
After that interesting incident, Italy began well, they attacked and created attacking opportunities right away. Italy constantly kept possession in the opponent’s half, causing plenty of trouble with Cassano and Pirlo’s passing masterclass. Bonucci rose up from the defence in a similar way to Lucio, expertly weaving his way around defenders hoping to get a chance to score, and the rest of the team made sure to accommodate the Juventus player’s runs.
It was in the 11th minute that Italy scored, Gilardino flicking with his head a corner swung in by Pirlo. It was 11 months that Gilardino didn’t score, and this goal is very welcome by the Fiorentina striker, especially after the disappointment in South Africa.
The second goal came from Daniele De Rossi in the 22nd minute, unmarked in the area, first hits his first shot against the defender, and the lucky rebound comes right to him which he smashes into the net. The Roma midfielder’s shot deflects off of Gregersen’s heel, but the ball would’ve most likely finished up in the net anyway.
At 2-0, Italy continued to play with an attacking style, a defensive wall stopped everything the Faroe Islands tried to do, and the ball circulated around the Azzurri’s feet. Then, about five minutes later Cassano shows why Lippi should’ve picked him for the World Cup: the Sampdoria forward cuts in from the left side and lashes a shot across the keeper into the goal which makes the Artemio Franchi Stadium explode with joy.
The Italy players were relaxed and calm as they filtered the ball through the Faroe Islands defence over and over, eventually scoring a fourth and a fifth goal. Quagliarella found the back of the net somehow as everybody scrambled for the ball, and Pirlo beautifully curled a close-range free kick under the bar.
A perfect performance from the Azzurri which helps forget the disappointment of the World Cup in South Africa, and hopefully move on towards a positive campaign in the European Championships. How do you think Italy played? Comment below!