Italy: World Cup 2014 FIFA Team Preview @TheRoyaleIndia

Italy: World Cup 2014 FIFA Team Preview

June 11, 2014 207 0 0

Cesare Prandelli @TheRoyaleIndia

Coach:Cesare Prandelli

FIFA rank:9

Formation:4-3-3

World Cup History: Champions (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006), Runners up (1970, 1994), Quarterfinals (1998)

Often below par during qualifying before raising their game at final tournaments, Italy went about things differently for once by taking imperious control of Group B in the European Zone.

The 2006 winners came through the qualifiers undefeated, topping a group that consisted of Denmark, Czech Republic and a resurgent Armenia. Winning this group ensured that the Azzurri have now qualified for every World Cup since 1962.

Cesare Prandelli seems to have consigned catenaccio to the past. “It’s now obvious that you can’t get results without playing attractive football,” explained the coach when he first took over.

History at the World Cup

Historically, Italy are the second most successful side after Brazil. They have won 4 World Cups till date.

In the last 5 tournaments, Italy have managed to reach two finals in 1994 and 2006 where they lost the former encounter against Brazil in a penalty shoot-out while the latter yielded a fruitful campaign after they lifted their fourth trophy against France. In 1998, they exited in the quarter-final stage against hosts France.

The biggest upset came in 2002 when South Korea eliminated them in the round-of-16. In 2010, it was of the most disappointing campaigns in recent times as the Azzurris were knocked out early in the group stages.

Squad

Cesare Prandelli’s 30-man preliminary squad instantly revealed a very important aspect of his selection criteria. He has assembled a unit which can easily boast to be of the most balanced sides in the tournament. The team has a proper blend of youthful energetic legs and experienced minds for the big occasions.

With the bulk of the Italian squad coming from Juventus, the players will have a cohesive understanding of how their team mates operate. The starting XI will be full of club partnerships – particularly in defence and midfield – and that familiarity will no doubt serve them well here.

Gianluigi Buffon @TheRoyaleIndia

Captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is the only survivor from their 2006 triumph in Germany along with Andrea Pirlo, while a host of youngsters have broken into the team, such as central defender Andrea Ranocchia and midfielder Marco Verratti. Up front, the transition from old to new has been even more dramatic thanks to the emergence of Stephan El Shaarawy and Giuseppe Rossi’s return to the fore. Also with a vital role to play are the maverick duo of Mario Balotelli and Pablo Osvaldo.

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris St Germain), Mattia Perin (Genoa)

Defenders: Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorigo Chiellini (Juventus), Gabriel Paletta (Parma), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter Milan), Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Matteo Darmian (Torino), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina)

Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Thiago Motta (Paris St Germain), Marco Verratti (Paris St Germain), Riccardo Montolivo (AC Milan), Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma), Antonio Candreva (Lazio), Marco Parolo (Parma), Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Romulo (Verona)

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Antonio Cassano (Parma), Alessio Cerci (Torino), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Giuseppe Rossi (Fiorentina), Mattia Destro (AS Roma), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)

Manager

Cesare Prandelli took over the managerial duties of the Italian national side from Marcelo Lippi after the 2010 World Cup. As a player, he played six seasons for Juventus in midfield during the early ‘80s. His first game in charge saw a sour start to his tenure as Italy were beaten 1-0 by Ivory Coast in a friendly.

Since then, Prandelli incorporated a few tactical changes into Italy’s traditional defensive approach and brought forth a new compact side who are well capable of playing a possession based attacking style of football.

Player to watch out for: Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo @TheRoyaleIndia

Having earned 107 caps for his country, Pirlo has been around for an age and at 35-years-old, this looks set to be his last ever major tournament.

The Juventus midfielder has learned to adapt his game, no longer being used as what you’d call an orthodox midfielder, but as a deep-lying playmaker. He is still masterful in this position and has a massive influence on games with expert passing, unparalleled vision, unnerving composure and pin-point set-piece ability.

The man the Juventus fans have dubbed ‘Mozart’ is gradually being eased out of the side at club level. But the same cannot be said for the national team who are still dependent on Pirlo to manage the play and keep the team ticking over.

Best starting XI

Selecting the starters from a star-studded squad can be immensely difficult but to execute their strategies, a set of players will be preferred ahead of others mainly because of their experience or because of the fact that they may be the best options to slot into those positions. Here are the expected starters for this edition.

Goalkeeper – Gianluigi Buffon

Defenders – Ignazio Abate, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Matt De Sciglio

Midfielders – Andrea Pirlo, De Rossi, Claudio Marchisio, Ricardo Montolivo

Forwards – Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano


Prediction

Italy are always the unsung favourites in every tournament they feature. They are a team who are well capable of beating superior oppositions on any given day.

This year, the Azzurris have been drawn in the group of death with England, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D. Uruguay have a great strike force in the form of Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani while England boast a roster of Premier League superstars.

Among the three, Italy will marginally be favourites to qualify for the round-of-16 where they will possibly face either the Group C runners-up or winner which can be any of Ivory Coast, Greece, Colombia or Japan.

Again, Italy will be expected to cross this hurdle and reach the quarter-finals.

Tags: FIFA Blast, FIFA Team, Team Italy FIFACategories: Movies