Rear fear for Italy (1 Viewer)

dpforever

Prediction Game Champ 2003 & 2005
Jan 12, 2002
3,794
#1
Italian sides have always prided themselves on their defensive prowess. 'Primo non prenderle' - 'First, don't let them get at you' - has long been the maxim that lay at the root of a successful Italy team.

"In Italy you can see kids growing up and wanting to become defenders which isn't that normal in many other countries," said AC Milan striker Jon Dahl Tomasson, who will line up against Italy as a member of the Denmark team in their first UEFA EURO 2004™ finals match on 14 June in Guimarães.

However, for all of the traditional strength of Italian defences, concerns have been raised about the options available to coach Giovanni Trapattoni for the trip to Portugal. Having conceded one goal in their final five qualifiers, Italy have leaked seven goals in their last six friendly games - a sure sign for many that their defence is not as water-tight as it should be.

Perhaps it was no surprise that the coach tried to persuade AC Milan's Paolo Maldini to come out of international retirement to help steady the ship at EURO 2004™. "Italy need a player like Maldini in defence," said Trapattoni last month. However, with Maldini's polite decline of the coach's offer, it seems unlikely that Italy will get what they need.

A four-man defence of Christian Panucci, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Gianluca Zambrotta lining up in front of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is Trapattoni's most likely selection for the finals, but even this star-studded lineup is not without its frailties.

On the positive side, Nesta may have missed eight games of Milan's scudetto-winning campaign, but there is little doubt that he will go to Portugal in perfect shape, while Zambrotta continues to thrive since switching from the right side of midfield to the left side of defence.

However, in conceding 42 goals in Serie A with Juventus FC this season, Buffon has been unusually prone to errors. Meanwhile, 30-year-old captain Cannavaro is not in peak physical condition as he struggles to shake off the ill effects of a minor fracture in his lower leg. "For it to heal perfectly, I would have to stop playing for three-and-a-half months and that is pretty unrealistic," said the FC Internazionale player.



Gianluigi Buffon has not had one of his better seasons (©empics)

Cannavaro played just 22 of his side's 34 Serie A games in 2003/04 while the 31-year-old Panucci played only two games more than him with AS Roma and often in a three-man defensive line, meaning he may be unprepared to play on the right side of the standard back four preferred by Trapattoni.

These fears over injuries and compatibility have only raised further concerns to the calibre of the players Italy have in reserve. For example, central defender Marco Materazzi, called up in preference to Nicola Legrottaglie, has missed 20 games this season through injury and suspension.

Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Matteo Ferrari may be one of Italy's most promising young defenders, but he lacks experience at major tournaments. Massimo Oddo can deputise for Panucci on the right, but he is a more attack-minded player while on the left, a lack of alternatives has forced Trapattoni to name Giuseppe Favalli as cover for Zambrotta - even though he has not won a cap in five years.

With 12 goals in Serie A this season, Tomasson will get first crack at the Italian back four. If the Dane can find the cracks in what some see as a creaking defence, it could be a short and unpleasant tournament for Italy.


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Do you agree with this article? Personally, I don't think Italy will suffer from defence. The team probably has the best defedners - even without Maldini. Teams like Holland, France, Portugal and England should worry about defenders, not Italy!! I think Italy's Achilles heel is def. midfield instead. Something like what Juve was suffering from this season due to Davids departure and Appiah's form.
 

Dan

Back & Quack
Mar 9, 2004
9,291
#2
agreed. we still have the best defense ever. Dont forget Materazzi, oddo, pannuci, nesta..
 

Stu

Senior Member
Jul 14, 2002
17,556
#3
That's bs. On their day Cannavaro and Nesta are easily two of the best defenders in the world even though Canna has been having a tough time of things lately. Panucci is solid enough, and with midfielders such as Gattuso, Zanetti and Perrotta available I don't think we'll suffer defensively. Oh yeah, we've got Matteo Ferrari as well.
 

Amr

Senior Member
Dec 25, 2003
3,465
#4
the defence lin is excellent in the azzurri, the 4 players in tht lin r perfect

panucci,zambro,canna,nesta , all perfect.
 

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,089
#5
Panucci is perfect? Not last time I checked. I'd take Oddo over Panucci any day, and to be honest I'd take Ferrari over Cannavaro given his recent form, but we all know how much of a role that plays in Trap's selection policy :rolleyes:
 

Stu

Senior Member
Jul 14, 2002
17,556
#7
++ [ originally posted by gray ] ++
Panucci is perfect? Not last time I checked. I'd take Oddo over Panucci any day, and to be honest I'd take Ferrari over Cannavaro given his recent form, but we all know how much of a role that plays in Trap's selection policy :rolleyes:
Right now I prefer Panucci to Oddo. With Zambrotta going forward to no end on the left it would be better to have a stay-at-home RB like Panu rather than an equally adventurous one such as Oddo.

Ferrari over Cannavaro? Judging by club form, definitely, but Canna has a knack for doing well with the Azzurri, and he's the captain afterall. Though Ferro and Casso have had better club seasons, I think Cannavaro and Del Piero should start.
 

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,089
#8
++ [ originally posted by Stuart ] ++
Right now I prefer Panucci to Oddo. With Zambrotta going forward to no end on the left it would be better to have a stay-at-home RB like Panu rather than an equally adventurous one such as Oddo.
True, but in terms of defensive ability, the only time I'd want Panucci to play instead of Oddo would be if Korea was playing against Italy :p
 

Elnur_E65

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2004
10,848
#9
Author does have serious concearns, but situation is not all that bad. The fact that team conceeded 7 goals in 6 matches is not an indicator for friendly games. NT still has a great record.

And the backline problem- there Italy has an excellent coach to get them all solved.
 

A_LAcki

Senior Member
Dec 23, 2002
3,554
#12
what a funny and stupid article.
Nesta weak?
Cannavaro not fit?
Zambrotta has problems?
Buffon error prone???

Who wrote that stit! Italy will rule this Euro, and whole Europe knows this, beside this stupid author!
 
Sep 28, 2002
13,975
#13
well author has a point lacki.

nesta is ok, among the best there.
cannavaro sucks ass since his move to inter
panucci.....
zambrotta rules as well

buffon - you seen him play this year.
 

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