International Champions Cup Preview: Juventus
Juventus, reigning Serie A champions, are one of the biggest names in world football and will be coming to the United States later this month to compete in the 2013 International Champions Cup.
Here’s a preview of Italy’s reigning champs:
July 31, 2013: Juventus vs Everton F.C., San Francisco (AT&T Park) 11:00pm ET
August 3, 2013: Loser of Juventus vs Everton F.C. will play loser of Real Madrid vs LA Galaxy or winner of Juventus vs Everton F.C will play winner of Real Madrid vs LA Galaxy, Los Angeles (Dodger Stadium) 8:00pm ET or 10:30pm ET
August 6, 2013: Opponent to be determined, Miami (Sun Life Stadium), 6:30pm ET or 9pm ET
August 7, 2013: Opponent to be determined, Miami (Sun Life Stadium), 6:30pm ET or 9pm ET
What to Expect
Juventus is the strongest team in Italy, with depth now in every position. They play a style that is in many ways coming into vogue this season: high tempo, very high pressing when out of possession, cut-throat counter attacks, but with a unique spin: a somewhat unorthodox 3-5-2 formation. Manager Antonio Conte has silenced any doubters since his 2011 arrival, taking the Bianconeri on an unbeaten title run through Serie A in his first season. He repeated the feat in the 2012/13 season and looks to bring an unprecedented third straight title to the Turin giants. Expect this team to take no prisoners, especially with Serie A rivals Inter and AC Milan, both of whom have the potential to meet Juventus in an all-Italy final.
Who to Watch For
This team is built around some of the worlds best defenders and midfielders, with an all-time world great in goal: Gianluigi Buffon. Buffon is an absolute legend at the club and around the world, and has the distinction of winning his first Scudetto with now manager Antonio Conte, but with Conte featuring in midfield rather than the technical area. In central midfield features a player with a similar pedigree: Andrea Pirlo. The deep-lying playmaker is absolute commander of Juve’s offense, and is lethal from free kicks. Both featured in Italy’s 2006 World Cup victory and represent the very highest caliber of Italian footballer.
This will also be the first major outing for Juve’s new and vastly improved attack, featuring former Manchester City star Carlos Tevez and Athletic Bilbao legend Fernando Llorente.
Finally, rumor has it that manager Conte may try out a truly unorthodox 3-3-4 formation this coming season, and the International Champions Cup may be just the place to see it first.
Out: Emanuele Giaccherini
In: Fernando Llorente, Carlos Tevez, Angelo Ogbonna
One of the biggest stories this summer has been the lengths to which Juventus have gone to upgrade their strike force. They have reached out to two very talented, if erratic, strikers in Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente.
Tevez, a tireless attacking midfielder/forward, scored 11 and assisted 8 for Manchester City last season. A fantastic dribbler, he loves to cut inside and run at defenders near the box.
Llorente is widely recognized as one of the most gifted strikers in Spain, but internal problems at Athletic marred his last campaign. His prior season saw him score 17 and assist one in La Liga’s Primera Division, while netting another 7 and assisting 4 in the Europa league. His total tally was 29 goals in 56 matches.
In Ogbonna, Juventus gain even more depth at the back, with the 25 year old center back showing hints of great skill and an ability to play on the left with cross-town rivals Torino.
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