Euro 2012: 3 Questions for Italy After (another) Match-Fixing Allegation
Calciopoli lives again.
While some players were under investigation in 2006, the current squad has been actively affected after it was revealed that Domenico Criscito will not be named in the 23-man squad for the Euros.
This is nothing new to the Italians, who were in the midst of preparing for the World Cup in 2006 when the last batch of wiretaps and bribes were shuttled out to the public.
But after a dismal showing at the World Cup in 2010, it stands to reason that this is an unwelcome addition to the squad. It also adds intrigue to a group featuring Spain, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland.
How the Italians answer the next three questions may determine how quickly or how long their stay in Poland and the Ukraine might be.
How Does Italy Line Up at the Back?
Considering that Giorgio Chiellini is still not fully fit and Leonardo Bonucci is also under the cosh of the match-fixing investigation, Italy is in a state of flux as to how they will form their back four in the Euros.
Christian Maggio is about the only certainty at this point, having held down the right-back position in recent games.
Chiellini is flexible enough to go to the left side if necessary, but it more than likely falls to Palermo's Federico Balzaretti to do the job.
If Chiellini is out, Tuesday's central defensive pairing against Luxembourg might be the starting unit for the opener against Ireland.
Any injuries at this point might have catastrophic consequences to the squad.
Does Italy Play More Defensive-Minded Football?
Italy certainly has a wealth of experience to draw from in the midfield and attacking zones, but chaos at the back might force them into a corner.
If manager Cesare Prandelli doesn't feel the defense is up to snuff, he might be forced to use more combative midfielders, especially against Spain.
Considering Prandelli's use of a 4-3-1-2, the two forwards will need to be willing to track back often, meaning it's likely that Sebastian Giovinco and Antonio Cassano may be the winning ticket.
Daniele de Rossi, Riccardo Montolivo and Claudio Marchisio would make a solid midfield three in front of Andrea Pirlo.
The system has worked well for Italy so far. Will it hold up under the pressure, or will the Italians be forced to clam up?
Will Italy Rally Again?
While the calciopoli scandal was swirling about them at the 2006 World Cup, the Italians banded together and won their fourth world title.
Can the Italians use this latest setback as a rallying cry?
Considering their training base was visited by police and the allegations are in the public forum, the Italians have a cause to rally around.
They are sure to catch flak from every country they face. Fans from across Europe will be putting their thinking caps on, trying to think of ways to tie the recent two scandals together.
The Italians know that this is going to happen. Are they ready to face up to it and rub it in their opponent's faces or whimper and fade away?