Posts Tagged ‘Group F’


Posted: June 9, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Truth be told, it is very difficult to predict what sort of line up Marcello Lippi will put out for Italy in the World Cup. In the friendlies, they have tried out the 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 and the 4-4-2 and Lippi has apparently tried even more systems in training. He’s going to keep trying until they get the right formation.

Italy has an amazing goalkeeper in Buffon. Nobody can really question the guy’s ability and I’m not going to either. Their defence is shaky – they conceded two against Mexico, one against the Swiss as well. This doesn’t look like the same Italian defence that conceded only from a penalty and an own goal last time around. Chiellini will start as center back and will partner Cannavaro, who recently engineered for himself a move to Dubai – which in his own words was a “dream” move. The ageing Zambrotta will start and that’s a little worrying because he’s prone to mistakes and can be easily exploited by a quick winger. The attack minded Christian Maggio will mostly start on the right for the reigning World Champions.

Heading to the toughest league in the world - Cannavaro

Midfield is a little more interesting. Andrea Pirlo will be missing the game against Paraguay most likely but he should be back for the rest. He’ll definitely have a place in the starting eleven when he’s back from injury. Montolivo is there during Pirlo’s absence and himself a decent player. Cossu has been flown out and played against the Swiss. He’s the 24th man for the Italians. De Rossi should start and hopefully this time around he won’t elbow anyone. He’s a very talented player and isn’t afraid to shoot once in a while.

Camoranesi will also be mostly picked as he’s favoured by Lippi. Marchisio is an option Lippi has and his versatility can be used if at all Lippi wants to change the system.

Di Natale should start up front. He’s had a fantastic season for Udinese and he’s scored nearly 30 goals. They have okay strikers otherwise. Quagliarella can pull something out of nothing at times, but he isn’t very consistent when doing this. Iaquinta too, is an okay player, but nothing extraordinary. Gilardino has been in good form for Fiorentina and if you need anyone to dive, well you have him. He has certainly improved from his Milan days. Pazzini was tried out by Lippi in one of the friendlies but I don’t think he will start.

Swooping in for the kill - Di Natale

Cassano was the surprise exclusion from Marcello Lippi’s squad and I’m sure he feels that he deserves to be in South Africa. The best part about Cassano is that he’s versatile. He can lead the forward line and can play on the wings as well.

Italy won the World Cup thanks to a solid defense last time around. I really don’t think their defense is even close to what it was four years back. Cannavaro is way past his prime and Chiellini will have to pull a miracle if they do come up against good teams.

Sadly, there isn’t too much I can say about the Italian team. This is sad because they’re World Champions. However, one thing is that they’ve done well at most international tournaments, even at Euro 08 where they held Spain to a 0-0 draw and eventually lost on penalties. They’re a side to look out for, even though the players are pretty much the same from last world cup, they’re not the same team, if you get what I’m saying.

Squad –


Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Federico Marchetti (Cagliari)


Gianluca Zambrotta (Milan), Fabio Cannavaro (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Salvatore Bocchetti (Genoa)


Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan), Gennaro Gattuso (Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Mauro Camoranesi (Juventus), Angelo Palombo (Sampdoria), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Simone Pepe (Udinese)


Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Antonio Di Natale (Udinese), Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Giampaolo Pazzini (Sampdoria)

Predictions – Italy are in a relatively easy group. They’re paired with Slovakia, New Zealand and Paraguay. Realistically speaking Paraguay should be the only team that challenges them in the group stages. If they do make it out of the group stages, they could play Netherlands, Denmark, Cameroon or Japan. Realistically, we can say that they’ll either play Netherlands or Denmark (Cameroon have an outside chance). They’ll struggle against the Dutch and probably against Denmark as well who have had a very good qualifying campaign. I don’t expect the Champions to go beyond the quarter finals stage.

Expected Line Up (Like I mentioned earlier, Lippi is all secretive about his line up, so this is at best, an educated guess) –


Maggio         Chiellini        Cannavaro      Zambrotta

Pirlo                         De Rossi                Camoranesi

Marchisio              Gilardino                   Di Natale