Another intriguing match showed at the 2010 World Cup as the raining world champion Italy challenged New Zealand, a match that on paper looked to be an easy game for gli Azzurri turns out to be a disaster as they fail to get the three points from the Oceania representative. It was pretty much a horrible game played by Marcello Lippi’s side as they fell down first through another scrappy dead ball situation, which was not that different from the goal they conceded against Paraguay.
Unlike the previous game, Italy did manage to get level before the second half however after Iaquinta’s perfect penalty gli Azzurri never seems to pick up the pace and tempo needed to unlock the all Whites tough defense. As I already mentioned after their game against Paraguay, Marcello Lippi’s side is dying for some creative spark to connect the midfield and attack, this game now gives more vivid evidence of that needs.
With all credits to New Zealand, their defense isn’t actually being torn apart by the Italian as they only need to handle direct high through balls and crosses most of the time, which actually comforted them knowing they have the height and strength advantages at the back. Despite dominating the possession, Italy haven’t really crafted many cutting edge inside New Zealand’s penalty area as the best chances the raining world champion had mostly comes from their midfield players’ long range shots. It was a much more worse performance compared to the Azzurri’s game against Paraguay as I though that Lippi’s squad played too slow and simply lack of sharpness in the final third.
This result surely will bring many critics from Italy’s fans and press as even before the world cup, there were so many critics addressed to Lippi for not calling up creative attacking players such as Antonio Cassano, Fabrizio Micolli, Mario Ballotelli or even Francesco Totti. Not to mention loosing Andrea Pirlo at the beginning of the tournament makes things seems much more worse as the Milan’s midfield player seems to be the only creative act left from this current Italian squad. Surely there’s no chance for the former Juventus’ coach to call up new players for the last game against Slovakia but he definitely needs to work something up, clearly Italy look lost in the final third, not cutting edge, no creativity and no one has the flair to breach trough defenses and come up with some decisive touch in the penalty box.
A little fresh air for the Italian are probably the chance that Pirlo might be able to play against Slovakia which looks to be the decisive game for the Azzuri if they want to go through the group. Getting the three points there will be something they must get if the raining world champion still have the desire to retain their title, however with the current problems they’re having plus the pressure they will be facing, it would be a very tough game for Lippi’s side. Could Pirlo be the one that can give that answer they have been looking for in the last two games? Surely the playmaker is pretty much the most creative player in the squad at the moment, but the question would be is he fit enough to battle out against tough Slovakia side? Italy’s fans must surely be biting their nails now until the final whistle on the game against Slovakia blown .