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Italy against Croatia Soccer Preview EuroCup | Print |  E-mail
Written by Larry Aiello   
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:07

With Italy's showing against Spain on Sunday, it showed that the Italian team is not dead as many people predicted.  There was great demise predicted, as the team has been plagued by injury and by match-fixing scandals.  Even though they had a good qualifying run, their last few matches have been less than stellar, which also helped fuel the talk of an early Italian exit.  Here is a a preview of Italy against Croatia in the upcoming Eurocup game later this week in Group C action.

Antonio Cassano

I think the last match gave the Italian team some confidence, that even though they may not win the possession clock, their defense and midfield is still pretty strong, anchored by Andrea Pirlo who had a great game against Spain.

Antonio Cassano - pictured right

However, if the Italians want to advance in this Eurocup, they need to beat the Croatian team, which won pretty decisively against Ireland during the previous Sunday's match.
Let's assume Spain will take care of business Ireland (a tie would be good for the Italian team).

That will put Spain at the top of the group with 4 points.  A tie between Italy and Croatia will leave the Italian team with 2 points and the Croatian team tied for first with 4 points as well.

That puts the Italian team on the outside looking in, and hoping for other things to happen to advance.

They haven't beaten the Croatian team in 5 attempts.  Their style of play is a problem for the Italian team.  Croatia will spread the ball wider than Spain and they also have taller strikers, which could be a problem for Italy's defense.   Italian coach Cesare Prandelli will probably use another formation to counter the opposition.

It will be interesting to see if Antonio Di Natale, the Italian league's most valuable player in 2010 will get the start in place of Mario Balotelli.  Di Natale scored the only goal in the last match, and almost had another later in the game.  He provided a spark to the team.  Balotelli had nice chance to score a goal, but waited too long for the play to develop and it allowed the Spanish defender to break up the play.  Many are questioning whether his head was in the game?

Coach Prandelli can use the same strategy, and have Di Natale come in for the 2nd half to provide a spark.  That strategy would work better than having Balotelli come in to provide a spark, particularly since he is prone to getting a yellow or a red card.

It'll be an interesting strategy, and a must-win game for the Italians.  A tie will not eliminate them mathematically, but for all practical purposes, it will take the life out of their sails.  A loss will certainly ruin their chances.  It'll be another disappointment for a team with such rabid fans if they come home without advancing to the next round, like they did in the previous World Cup.  The Italian papers would say "Uno Schifo" - which in Italian means a disgrace.



0 #1 Margie 2012-06-28 20:13
Antonio Cassano, ooooooo! :oops: Dreamy!

Lets go Italy!

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