What The Confederations Cup Taught Us About Italy
Change is a part of life.
Sometimes it can be a good thing, while at times it can be for the worse. Even when change is not desirable, sometimes it is necessary. The need for change is staring Italian coach Marcello Lippi in the face.
Lippi seems to be so loyal to his older players which brought him to the Promised Land three years ago, that he is ignoring the need for change. All Italian soccer fans will be forever grateful to the players of the 2006 squad that brought unmatchable joy but all good things must come to an end.
Though this must not be so obvious to Lippi who decided to bring an aged sqaud to the Confederations Cup and unlike great Italian wines, soccer players do not always get better with age. Lippi ignored the need to test some younger players with the team and inject some much needed energy.
Where were they?
Yes, it is true that most of Italys young talent was with the Under 21 team for the European Championships but there were still others who were inexplicably left home. Giampaolo Pazzini, Antonio Cassano, and Paquale Foggia are just a few of the players who should have been given a look in South Africa.
These are just a few players who could've added life to a team that already looked old at last summers Euros.
We have already seen on numerous occasions that Lippi's favored strikers Luca Toni and Alberto Gilardino do not score consistently when wearing the Azzurri shirt. Meanwhile, Giampaolo Pazzini had a terrific season after his midseason transfer to Sampdoria, while also scoring in his international debut and looked extremely dangerous in Italy's friendly vs Northern Ireland.
He should certainly have been given a chance to prove his worth against quality competition, to see if he could find the back of the net more often than Toni and Gilardino.
Pasquale Foggia showed the ability to bring energy to the field while taking on defenders off the bench against Northern Ireland. Something the team sorely lacked outside of Giuseppe Rossi. He could have helped the attack from the right side, rather than using Mauro Camoranesi who was not match fit.
While in the midfield a guy like Matteo Brighi should have gotten a call-up or Angelo Palombo should have gotten some time on the field rather than the aged Gennaro Gattuso, who doesn't seem to have the legs that he used to.
Of course, then there is the case of Antonio Cassano whose exclusion seems to be a personal decision more than a tactical one. Cassano was the most creative Italian player in Serie A for most of the year; yet he was still left off the team, even though his discipline was not an issue all season. Why not give the Cassano-Pazzini tandem a chance together for La Nazionale after it worked so well for Samp?
This tournament proved that many of the current national team members no longer have what it takes to play for the Azzurri. These players must be gone and new blood needs to be introduced if Italy is to avoid a second embarrassment in South Africa.
To begin with some of the biggest names on the team need to go. The removals of Luca Toni, Gianluca Zambrotta, Mauro Camoranesi, and Gennaro Gattuso should be the beginning of the evolution of the team.
While the selections of players such as Fabio Quagliarella, Andrea Dossena, Vincenzo Iaquinta, and Nicola Legrottaglie should all be questioned in the future. The team needs to get younger while maintaining experienced players who can still help the team.
Aside from the aforementioned players who were left out; some of the members of the U21 squad should be brought in immediately while other are brought in gradually. Players such as Marco Motta, Salvatore Bocchetti, Claudio Marchisio, Luca Cigarini, Sebastian Giovinco and Mario Balotelli can all be usefull to the team right now.
While guys like Paolo DeCeglie, Domenico Criscito, Robert Acquafresca and Marco Andreolli all should have futures with the national team in some capacity down the road. Also, a healthy Alberto Aquilani would be a big help in the midfield.
While former U21 defender Fabiano Santacroce is another player who can help in 2010. The Confederations Cup proved just how badly the Azzurri need to change. Hopefully Lippi will answer the call.
Here is the 23 man roster I would use for the remaining qualifiers and into the 2010 World Cup.
GK- Gianluigi Buffon, Marcon Amelia, Andre Consigli/Gianluca Curci
D- Fabio Cannavaro, Giorgio Chiellini, Marco Motta, Davide Santon, Fabiano Santacroce, Salvatore Bocchetti, Fabio Grosso
M- Andre Pirlo, Daniele DeRossi, Alberto Aquilani, Claudio Marchisio, Luca Cigarini, Pasquale Foggia, Matteo Brighi/Angelo Palombo
F- Giampaolo Pazzini, Giuseppe Rossi, Sebastian Giovinco, Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano, Alberto Gilardino
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