Italy vs. San Marino: Post Match Thoughts and Comment
Cesare Prandelli's used this meaningless friendly as an experimentation session with the Italian national team to test out new players and tactics.
Minnows San Marino still haven't managed to score a goal in World Cup qualifying and sit last in their group with zero points. For geographical purposes, this was an easy friendly to set up, and it also gives the San Marino players a chance to go up against some of the hottest stars in world football.
Even though it's hard to truly gauge the performance of an Italian player in a match like this because the opposition is so poor, it's still a way to see how players work with each other chemistry-wise.
Since the actual match was a 4-0 (Poli 28', Gilardino 34', Pirlo 50', Aquilani 79') blowout, let's focus on the new players for Italy and how they might fit in the future.
Ogbonna still needs to make the jump to a quality team if he wants to take his game to the next level.
He's athletic and has wonderful anticipatory instincts. Expect him to be brought to the Confederations Cup as well as the World Cup next year as a substitute.
New inclusion Giacomo Bonaventura is one to watch out for. The highly versatile Atalanta midfielder can score goals and provide width and creativity.
While it'll be hard for him to win a place in a very deep Italian midfield, Bonaventura can carve his role as a utility substitute who can be used in various circumstances.
The last player we're going to focus on is Marco Sau.
The speedy Cagliari striker was a revelation in Serie A this season, scoring 12 goals for the Sardinian side. A diminutive player, he gives Italy a different look up front, where he can take on defenders with quick footwork and curl fantastic shots from outside the box.
He can play on either flank in a 4-3-3 or up front in a two-striker formation like he does alongside Victor Ibarbo at Cagliari.
Sau deserved his chance to shine in La Nazionale and was rewarded by Cesare Prandelli.
Overall, it was a great chance for Prandelli to use some of the fringe players in Serie A. Expect some of the players listed above to see their roles increased in the next few months.
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