Opinion: Tales of the unexpected (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Jul 14, 2002
Opinion: Tales of the unexpected
by Antonio Labbate

Welcome to the new Italy. Those expecting the Azzurri to sit back and defend at the 2004 European Championships will be in for a pleasant surprise. It may have taken some time and a disastrous 2002 World Cup but Christian Vieri, Francesco Totti and Alex Del Piero now co-exist in a side that is promising to dispel the defensive myth which closely marks Italian football.

Italy boss Giovanni Trapattoni took a good look at himself after the Oriental debacle in which his highly-fancied national side were embarrassingly defeated in the second round by minnows South Korea. While too many pointed the finger at portly Ecuadorian referee Byron Moreno, Trap realised that it was perhaps time to blow the whistle on his own cautious nature.

After all, there was no sense in having a host of attacking talent just sitting on the bench while a midfield, which was based on quantity rather than quality, struggled to take control. So after Italy jeopardised their Euro qualification campaign with a draw against Serbia and a defeat in Wales, Trap believed the best form of defence was attack with the introduction of a new 4-2-3-1 formation.

It’s a system that has brought rewards. The Azzurri’s results dramatically improved but, perhaps more importantly, so did the style in which those victories were achieved. Vieri is fielded as a lone striker, supported by an offensive trident line which consists of Del Piero on the left, Totti in the centre and Mauro Camoranesi or Stefano Fiore on the right.

Initial fears revolved around the role of Del Piero, seeing as he prefers to play as a second striker. But those doubts have been dispelled after a string of impressive performances by the Juventus star and his two illustrious colleagues. Their understanding has inevitably grown and the football they produce is simply breathtaking.

Those fortunate enough to see the 1-0 win in Germany last year were left with no doubts that this threesome were to be feared. Del Piero, Totti and Vieri all combined with one touch football which resulted in the Inter striker putting the ball in the back of the net. The trio combined again soon after that 18th minute goal when Del Piero scored but the referee wrongly disallowed it for offside.

The Italian media initially baptised them as ‘il trio delle meraviglie’ but they haven’t been so marvellous in recent times. Mainly because of the form of Del Piero, a player who had an injury plagued last campaign. That has led to calls for Trap to select Roma sensation Antonio Cassano instead.

The Coach is likely to keep faith with Alex, for the opening game against Denmark at the very least, but he could make changes after that - especially as he has quality alternatives in attack. Bernardo Corradi provides cover for Vieri, Cassano can play in the Totti role, while Di Vaio has also been placed on the left in the past.

Italy clearly have the attacking potential to beat any side this summer, so what can stop them in Portugal? In all likelihood it isn’t going to be a top class defence but their very own mentality. If Trap can resist the temptation of catenaccio, then Italy could end the tournament not only as champions but popular champions.

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Bedpan racing champion
Jul 25, 2001
If the Azzurri were to play brilliant attacking football only to then be eliminated later; they would at least have earned the admiration of the entire Dutch nation. After all, that's the story of our lives.

One word then remains to be said: Finally :thumb:


Senior Member
Feb 13, 2004
This is great news.... good to see Italy changing their play...
Attack is the best form of defense...:D

Dj Juve

Senior Member
Jul 12, 2002
i'm afraid of this. this clearly means that we will actually defend.

i'll bet on it. when the big games come, we will revert to defence
Aug 1, 2003
but I love it when Italy defends, even when they purely defend and hardly move their arses to attack :frown:

Well I guess it's all good ... I wonder how Italy'd look like if it was Pippo playing .... :dreamy:


Senior Member
Jul 14, 2002
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread Starter #8
    ++ [ originally posted by Don Bes ] ++
    so DP can play a support striker for italy but not for juve ?
    You've got it messed up. DP plays support striker for Juve and not for Italy. With the NT Alex is a member of the attacking trio behind Vieri, not a support striker.

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