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Daniele De Rossi

Italy fight out a positive 1-1 draw

Italy's Daniele De Rossi celebrates his goal against Paraguay during their 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match at Green Point stadium in Cape Town June 14, 2010. REUTERS/Oleg Popov (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)

The Azzurri have played their first match, and while some will view the 1-1 draw result as a bad thing, the match was actually filled with positives for Italy. Although we’ve seen Germany demolish Australia 4-0, I think that the Azzurri match was unique, it finally felt like I was watching a World Cup match. Both sides wanted the win, both sides wanted to score goals, and both sides eventually did.While Italy are known for being defensive, they Azzurri  went out onto the field with the idea of scoring goals. It was refreshing compared to some of the matches that we’ve seen which were tight affairs in which both teams only defended. But onto the tactics which were part of Italy’s offensive style.

Marcello Lippi finally revealed his starting 11, he had Buffon in net with a back-line (from right to left) of Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Chiellini, and Criscito. If front of them, De Rossi and Montolivo acted as holding midfielders, freeing up the remaining four players for offensive duties. It was Gilardino alone up front with Marchisio behind him, Pepe on the right, and Iaquinta on the left, completing a relatively attacking side.

Italy started the match a bit slowly, getting the feel of the ball and the pitch, possession was what they tried to keep from Paraguay who had the dangerous double of Barrios and Valdez. But while Italy seemed dominant, one main thing was worrying tactically, Gilardino, Marchisio, and Iaquinta were all very still, not moving and providing options. This left De Rossi and Montolivo with the workload of spreading the play without options up front, only aided by a constantly working Pepe, and a solid Zambrotta. Paraguay scored their goal with a very nice header from a free kick, and another worrying point tactically cropped up; Italy weren’t marking very well, they left men with too much space as they were disorganized in marking. So the first half gone, Italy had work to do in the second half.

SOCCER/FUTBOL WORLD CUP 2010 ITALIA VS PARAGUAY Action photo of Daniele de Rossi (C) of Italy, during World Cup 2010 game held at the Green Point stadium of Cape Town, South Africa./Foto de accion de Daniele de Rossi de Italia (C), durante juego de la Copa del Mundo 2010 celebrado en el estadio Green Point de Ciudad del Cabo, Sudafrica. 14 June 2010 MEXSPORT/ETZEL ESPINOSA Photo via Newscom

Buffon was taken off right at the half, replaced by Marchetti, it seems like he might have a hamstring or lower back problem which was bothering him, and Italy fans will be worried without their number one. But it was a breath of fresh air when Marchisio was taken off, the Juventus player was immobile, useless, and plainly having a bad day as he was replaced by a more active Camoranesi later in the second half. Italy were more decisive, Montolivo began to get more used to his playmaking position as he spread balls around for more dangerous crossing opportunities.

Eventually the goal came, De Rossi’s tap in followed a goalkeeper mistake by Villar who completely misjudged the corner’s trajectory. Italy were tied and had plenty of time to win the match as they pressed on with dominant possession and even better plays from a dynamic Montolivo and a never-stopping Pepe. Sadly putting Di Natale on for Gilardino didn’t get the winner, but Italy were able to win an important point, in a match filled with positives.

I was truly expecting the worst in this match, but Lippi has revealed a much more fluid and offensive team than I thought he would. What do you think about this, be sure to share your thoughts below!

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  1. Rami S.

    June 15, 2010 at 4:52 am

    Hi Niccolo,

    I think there are a few concerns here:

    1) The obvious one is whether Buffon will suffer from the same injury again in case he is able to return because Marchetti has no experience and will be nervous in the knockout stages. Even Criscito admitted to having some nervous moments during his World Cup debut.

    2) Defensively- the team is obviously not as good as WC 2006, but Cannavaro and Zambrotta played better than expected. I wonder if Lippi would give Maggio the chance to play on the right and shift Zambrotta to the left. This might hurt Criscito’s confidence but against New Zealand the Azzurri need to attack more and Maggio offers more going forward than any other full-back at Lippi’s disposal.

    3) Midfield: I think De Rossi & Montolivo should be kept. Montolivo has show he has the ability to play but just needs more time. The change to be made should probably involve Marchisio who ought to be moved to centre midfield or simply benched. In case Marchisio is played in central midfield then Montolivo can be played in a more advanced role. If not, then Marchisio should make way but I cannot see who will replace him because Camoranesi risks getting a red card almost every match he plays and Italy cannot afford that.

    4) Attack: Pepe as a right winger or even on the left was a successful move by Lippi since the former Udinese player was one of Italy’s most active and productive players on the night. I would certainly bench both Iaquinta and Gilardino. Iaquinta is best used as an impact substitute and in a more central role becaus on the left side he will be simply ineffective.

    As for Gilardino, I believe Pazzini is a better option and he should be partnered by A. Di Natale. I think the duo can score goals and work together better than the two starters against Paraguay.

    • Niccolo Conte

      June 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      Dear Rami,

      I’m worried about Buffon as well, but I think that Marchetti is a great keeper, not world-class, but great.

      I don’t think we need Maggio, if you look at Zambrotta, he got up the field fantastically on the right. And if you let Criscito have a couple more matches, he’ll become Italy’s standard left-back.

      I agree with benching Gilardino, but I love Iaquinta, I think he injects a lot of pace into the game and has a good work-rate. I want to see Lippi try to start with Iaquinta up top along with Di Natale playing just off of him.

      And as for Pazzini, I’m not sure… he hasn’t really proven himself yet at international level, I think he could be best used as a late sub.

      Btw Rami, what sites do you write for?


      • Rami S.

        June 16, 2010 at 3:57 am

        Hi Niccolo,

        A) Buffon’s absence will be a massive blow. What Buffon brings to the table is more than just saves. He adds confidence to the defensive line and also makes strikers feel uncertain after he makes a few saves. This forces some strikers to rush the shot or misplace it. Simply put, when healthy he can be dominant on the pitch

        B) Zambrotta surprised me and performed decently! I admit I wrote him off but let’s face it he will be gone after WC 2010. Azzurri need to get ready the new full-backs: Maggio, Criscito, Bocchetti, etc… I think Maggio playing on right against New Zealand will be good cause he offers a lot going forward. This way Pepe can be moved to the left where he can be more dangerous cutting it and shooting. Zambrotta can play on left or simply keep Criscito. I dont have problem keeping Zambrotta & Criscito but I know once they play the elite full-backs like Maicon they will suffer.

        C) Gilardino can score goals but he rarely impress me because if he doesn’t score then it means he did nothing for the team as he does not go back to start attacks or cross the ball. I think Iaquinta was in the wrong position and if he’s going to start on the left then it’s better to bench him but I agree using Iaquinta as central striker with Di Natale in support could be best option. Otherwise, I feel it’s worth giving Pazzini a chance- perhaps he will be another Schillaci.

        D) Italy’s main problem is there’s no creative force and even when Pirlo returns he will not completely solve that problem. I hope Italy can increase the pace because if you notice all teams are facing the bigger teams with pace, speed, physical strength and solid tactics (just check N. Korea against Brazil)

        I write for as well. Here is one of the most read pieces about World Cup:

        I write for a number of sites including where I cover the France Camp for the World Cup; Here’s a link to my section-

        And you can find many of my pieces on as well as other sister sites such as

        I’ve written for a number of other sites and do occasional articles, opinion pieces and comments.

        Best way to reach me is on Twitter: @RamiSoufi

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