Monday, 14 June 2010

The Azzurri

The defending champions opened the defence of their title with a 1-1 draw with Paraguay this evening. After going 1 nil down to Alcaraz’s header in the first half they subbed Buffon at half-time, made a couple of tactical adjustments and deservedly came away with a draw. Danielle De Rossi’s equaliser was probably the minimum they deserved for their 2nd half performance.

Lippi’s side is by no means a vintage Italian team but they will prove tricky opponents in the knock out stages. They lack a truly world class number 10 that they have had in the recent past such as Baggio, Del Piero or Totti. Andrea Pirlo was missing this evening but will certainly provide Italy with more incisive attacking options in the coming games. One thing they really seem to lack though is any pace in the final third which will cost them dear against better defences.

At the back the seem as solid as ever in build up play but look vulnerable at set pieces where they lack the height of previous teams. If Cannavaro is still capable of producing something near his best they have a chance of getting further in the competition than some had expected. Italy will need some fortune if they are to triumph on 11th July but few would back against them, I think a quarter, maybe semi final exit is more likely.

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