Sunday, 10 June 2012

Group C: Spain v Italy Post Match Analysis

Fabregas 63   Di Natale 60

Spain start off in their 4-2-3-1 shape, starting 11:
GK: Casillas, LB: Alba, CB: Ramos, CB: pique, RB: Arbeloa, CM: Busquets, CM: Alonso , LAM: Iniesta, AM: Xavi, RAM: Silva, F9: Fabregas
SUBS USED: silva/ Navas 63, Fabregas/Torres 74 

Italy start off in a 3-5-2 shape, starting 11:
GK: Buffon,  LCB: Chiellini CB: De Rossi  RCB: Bonucci, , LWB: Giaccherini, RWB: Maggio, DPM: Pirlo, CM: Motta, CM: Marchisio, ST: Balotelli ST: Cassano
SUBS USED: Balotelli/ Di Natale 56, Cassano/Giovinco 65, Motta/Nocerino 90

A little look:
Prandelli decided to set up in a 3-5-2 formation, with centre midfielder Daniele de Rossi playing in the back three as a sweeper/defensive midfielder, a role he has filled for Roma several times this season, alongside the left footed Chiellini to the left of him, and the right footed Bonucci to his right, giving good balance to the defence and tactical flexibility to the attack. With Italy's focus on getting men behind the ball Torres was always unlikely to start, this is because he lives off balls played into the Channel between the right back and centre back. With no space to run into, Spain were right to go with Fabregas who, under Pep at Barcelona, has been made to develop the tactical side of his game. He has played up top for his club a few times this year and has done well, although he is more of a false 10 then a false 9. 

Italy, as a unit, were solid today as everyone did their job well. The back three were constantly helped out by the wing backs, who stayed narrow when off the ball and attacked well. This, along with the three central midfielder's sitting just in front of the back line, made it hard for Spain to play in the central areas. All three of the back line hardly put a foot wrong and rarely gave the ball away when starting attacks, Chiellini in particular showed why he is one of the world's best; he made multiple interceptions and was very strong in the tackle, also bringing the ball out well down the left side. Giaccherini did not start well though he grew into the game, making some key interceptions. He and Maggio -the man on the other flank- were key to Italy playing the ball out and hitting on the counter, which they did well. Italy got players behind the ball but unlike Chelsea against Barcelona, they didn't let Spain pin them in the box for 90 minutes, they  pushed a little higher at times alongside having an actual counter-attack plan that looked dangerous. Spain would have been wishing Ramos was on the right, as Arbeloa didn't achieve much in the attacking half, his team mate Alba was a willing runner, although the pair had to be careful not to leave space for the wing backs to attack.  

In the middle :
Italy, just like Spain, had the centre packed; Pirlo played as a deep laying play-maker, he played some nice balls out to the wings for the strikers , and also played the best pass of the day to set up Di Natale for his goal which was a very tidy finish. Pirlo did not make many tackles, however he did intercept well, and as you can tell by now, this was a big part of Italy's play: they had thirty-odd interceptions by the end. Motta and Marchisio were given the job of injecting some energy to Pirlos' tidy calm play, and the latter of the two was given more freedom. He played a box to box role this allowed him to test the keeper a couple of times, but he did his best work whilst in the three-man blanket that covered the defence. The pairing of Busquets and Alonso worked well; Alonso made some good tackles and Busquets put out fires and played the simple balls off. Xavi, as always, kept the ball circulating and made some key passes. Silva played well, although he was unlucky that the man he had to beat (Chiellini) was in top form this didn't stop him however linking up with  Fabregas for the goal. The star of the show was Iniesta; only Xavi made more passes in the attacking third, he was skipping past the Italians time and time again, causing them to make a number of tactical fouls. He started on the left, though because of the players Spain possess, he was allowed to go floating which led to him having a couple of good chances.You felt that Spain needed an extra string to the bow and Torres showed that. 

Up Top:
Italy played two up top and they worked the channels well. Balotelli didn't need telling twice to make a menace of himself. He actually did okay at winning the ball back, but the time he took the ball from Ramos he dwelled too much, checking his options when he had a clear shot at goal. Inevitably having a man like Balotelli closing down would end with him getting booked, so Prandelli didn't take any risks and took him off shortly after the start of the second half. This had a good affect as the sub (Di Natale) coming on made some great runs and got the goal.He maybe Should of had a second if he had connected better with the lovely ball played into the box from Giovinco, who added some much needed energy in the closing stages when he came on for Cassano. Fabregas did well playing the false nine for the national team.He has the ability to play up there if needed, but it's not ideal by any means.Spain might have won with a fit Villa, as the  offside trap was a little rocky and the extra penetration would have coursed Italy a different kind of problem. 

Full Time:
Spain should be pleased with getting a goal back so early, as the Italians would have surely started to play the game out if they could have held on for a little longer. Sharing the points will not seem so bad as it was against their hardest opponents in the group, and they will see it as a point gained.

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