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Lets just say that Italy wasnt bad...the whole defence put up a phenomenal perofrmance against the Beglians who were attacking on waves.Italy went strongin the game and opened the score with Totti who made a very good low header.Then,the typical catenaccio started.Only Inzaghi was up front with the rest 10 defending very effectivelly against the furstrated Belgians who were attacking like mad dogs.The second goal came from the only right pass Inzaghi did duri8ng tyhe whole game,he gave correctly the ball tio Fiore who made a fantastic curling shot in De Wilde's far post leaving no chance to the Belgian goallie.Zoff made a very wise move by leaving Pessotto on the bench because Maldini proved how much he is wasted at a 3 man defence.The captain proved he is still the best left back in the world (he was supposed to be wing back but both he and Zambrotta tunred into full backs after the goal).The midfield battle was completely lost for Italy and thats somethintg to worry about....After the 2nd goial the Belgians were dissapointed and Italy came forward a bit more.

Toldo-The REAL Toldo.Exelent saves and commanding in the air.Very nice performance.

Cannavaro-Rock solid,didnt put a foot wrong during the whole game,Fabio once again palced himself in the first rank of shining players alonmg with...

...Nesta-The Lazio captain was fantastic.He didnt make one mistake during the whole game.In fact he was only a bit better than...

...Iuliano-Mark was very good.He didnt face any problems and lets not forget that his left side had to face the best player of the game,Eric Deflandre,an exiting and attacking full back.Very good for Iuliano.

Zambrotta-He gave many battle with Bart Goor and won many of them.He wasnt bad,its just that Zambrotta is at his best when attacking,and tonight he had to defend.Ok perofrmance but he has lot more to offer.

Conte-Antonio wasnt as good as against turkey,mainly because he didnt hasd the chance to go forward,however,he was tiredless running at the midfield and despite not managing many things we can at least say he was trying unlike...

...Albertini-I really dont know WHY this guy is in there.He is just standing in the centner anmd does nothing.Really invisible...a hard tackler and runner like Di Biaggio or Di Livio would be more useful than Demetrio.

Maldini-Man of the match for Italy.He had to deal with Belgium's right side,with two players like aggreisve Deflandre and a truck named Verheyen and he did it exeptionally good.Very helpful at defence he was the starter of the (very few) Italian wing attacks.

Fiore-Exelent.He should mark a bit more but he was an oasis of creativity in Italy's midfield.His performance was topped by an exelent goal.

Totti-Totti scored and was ok but I feel that he will be more comfortable and useful in a more play-making role.Good performance however and his goal was very good.

Inzaghi-I think Inzaghi finally did it! he tryed very hard but he finally made it.He managed to be off side at every italian attack.Really impressive.Italy had very few good attacks,but these were wasted by the fantastic record of Pippo on offsides...he must have been offside for at least 10 times.

SUBS:

Del Piero-Alex came in and certainly refreshed the attack.He had some very nice moves against the quite tired Belgians defenders.In my opinion he should start up front with Totti in Albertini's place.

Delvecchio-Didnt play much,but it was enough to prove his quality:LOW and certainly not good enough for the Squadra Azzura.

Ambrosini-played very few minutes when the game was already decided.

One more thing: This kind of Italy,has no chance against a big team.They played as they could to beat the Belgians who,to be honest,deserved the draw.The defence was unbeatable,but the midfield and the attack need vastly improvement.Zoff made a very nice move by sweitching Maldini at left midfield,does he have the guts to do one more by throwing Albertini,switching totti at his position at the bench and play Del Piero?
 

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Completely agreed, AMO!

Still, it's a pleasure to see Toldo in full form.
 
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Far too easy for Italy. Albertini has his second consecutive good match, something he hasn't managed at Milan since Desailly used to carry him in midfield six years ago. Belgium had a lot of possession but no idea how to break down a solid Italy defence. Wilmots was hopeless for Belgium, his wretched first touch wasting the few opportunities Belgium created. Inzaghi
was even more frustrating for Italy, continually running offside. Totti, who wore a ridiculous head band, did bugger all after scoring, trying too hard to play a killer pass. Fiore was excellent. Del Piero also looked sharp when he
come on mid-way through the second half.

My MVP: Toldo - Made up for an uncharacteristic error against Turkey with some trademark spectacular saves.
 

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Congrats to the Azzurri! These two matches weren't that great, but at least they got two victories and that's much more than I expected before this tournament started!

Amo, is Fabio Cannavaro for sale?:)

Last, but not least: PLEASE NO MORE 'CRAPPO' INZAGHI!:(
 

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GREAT VICTORY!!!

I guess this means Italy is through to the next round.

So to all the cynics who said Italy wouldn't get past the first round, I say... IN YOUR FACE!!!
 

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The Azzurri did what it took to win in a hostile environment, and did it mainly thanks to two acts of brillance by Totti and Fiore and Magnificent defending by Iuliano, Cannavaro and Nesta and Maldini. The Mpenzas and Nilis were getting so frustrated. By the end of the match, Zoff seemed resigned to putting in Ambrosini just to quell some of Belgium's grudges.
Like with Turkey, Belgium looked better than Italy at times because they controlled the ball better and went forward more. However, Italy seemed willing to allow Belgium to continually cross the ball from the sides of the midfield. Because when the tough got going, when the ball entered the box, Cannavaro and Nesta converged so damn quickly. I really can't say enough about their greatness, nor Inzaghi's continued weakness. I'm really beginning to
wonder who Pippo is these days. He was called offsides like 6 times. Disgusting. I was never more relieved to see Delvecchio than when I saw him come in for Inzaghi in the 75th minute.
Toldo played an amazing game. Even the biased Brit commentators were drooling in their mics watching Toldo stiffle chance after chance. I must say that Totti scored an amazing goal, but after that he largely silent. But his effort in the middlefield cannot be questioned. Del Piero, once again, came on and added salt and pepper to the game. Fiore seems much more comfortable w/ del piero on the pitch than Totti. Whatever the case,
Montella, DelVecchio,Del Piero, hell my younger brother should start over Inzaghi. Del Piero did look a bit sheepish.
But by the match's end, it was very very clear that Italy had come to play, and play they did with uncharacteristic confidence. They really shrugged off any pressure, and played a team playing at home in a major tournament just like one should. Great confidence builder which positions us well for qualifying. Viva Italia!!!
Toldo: A+ Best performance by goalie in Euro 2000 yet.
Cannavaro: A+ Just so damn reliable. Just so damn classy. A champion.
Nesta: A+++ Every time he was there. Everytime he did his job. Made Mpenza invisible.
Maldini: A+ Was all over the pitch. Did a little of everything, thanks mainly to Iuliano's presence.
Iuliano: A Looked experienced and dependable. Outstanding performance.
Zambrotta: C Still not up to this level. Apprehensive, shaky, but some bright defense.
Conte: C+ Good work rate, but seems a little off with timing still.
Albertini: B Made the free kick that Totti scored on. Better than past tournaments.
Fiore: A- Made the classy goal that knocked the belgians out. Brillant, but disappeared for portions of the match.
Totti: B+ Great, great goal. Nice to see. Good midfield hustle, some bad passing today.
Inzaghi: F Just an embarressing performance. Really, really bad.
 

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It was a game that italy took under control..
Italy's style is just that> But noone ever seems to give them the credit they deserve..
I listened to the English commentators after the game and was a bit offended when they said that they did not like the way they played because it was too defensive..
ITaly has been know for it's defense.AWESOME:D indeed//
To all those critics absolutley in your face :p..
 

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Italy coach Dino Zoff
denied on Thursday his side were boring but said they must
improve if they were to win the European championship.
Italy's 2-0 defeat of co-hosts Belgium on Wednesday
virtually guaranteed them a place in the quarter-finals.
But the way they won -- scoring after six minutes and
defending their lead for the next hour before killing off the
Belgians with a second goal on the counter-attack -- was not to
everyone's liking.
Former coach Arrigo Sacchi gave Zoff's side only back-handed
praise in an editorial in La Stampa newspaper.
"Italy won by playing Italian-style," Sacchi wrote.
"It was a good Italy, in keeping with our habits and our
mentality. It was the usual Italy -- defensive, opportunist and
maybe at times a little boring.
"We were very good in defence, even if we defended with too
many players, always using the same 3-5-1-1 formation."
Zoff defended his side's approach.
"We didn't seem boring to me," he told a news conference at
Italy's training camp in northern Belgium. "We suffered a bit
but I think that was to the credit of our opponents."

LACK OF POSSESSION
Italy have enjoyed less possession than either of their two
group B opponents here but have beaten them both.
They had only 42 percent of the ball against Turkey in their
2-1 victory on Sunday and 44 percent against Belgium.
Zoff ackowledged they might have to step up a gear against
the likes of France, Portugal or the Dutch in the knock-out
stages and said he wanted to see his players keep the ball for
longer.
"You can't always play like you'd like to," he said. "We
didn't pass the ball enough according to me. We have to play
with the ball more in all areas of the pitch. That was the one
thing I didn't like (against Belgium)."
Nevertheless, Italy are unrecognisable from the side wich
has struggled for the past year, lost 3-1 at home to Belgium in
November and was beaten 1-0 by Norway on the eve of Euro 2000.
"Our speed, our penetration, our variations of rhythm --
that's what we were lacking in Oslo," Zoff said.

ZOFF MIGHT REST STRIKERS
The coach now has to decide how to approach Italy's final
group match against Sweden, which will be nothing more than a
formality if the Swedes fail to beat Turkey in Eindhoven later.
Zoff suggested he would not tinker with his winning side.
"It's a bit difficult to start experimenting in the middle
of a European championship," he said.
But if Italy's qualification for the last eight is
confirmed, Zoff will surely be tempted to rest his first team
players and give Alessandro Del Piero a run in attack.
"Del Piero is rediscovering his form and it's normal he
feels he wants to play more," Zoff said. "We'll try to find a
way to keep everyone happy."
 

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For the most part i agree with all of you,
However it still concerns me to see Italy play against a world class side with this line-up.
Totti i thought still is slowly getting into the position but is leaving Inzaghi all alone upfront.
I think Totti's bad passes were a result of his unbelievable hustle,he practically made up as a midfielder chasing back to front,front to back,while Inzaghi watched him work his balls off.Fiore for me had a disappointing game,except for his moment of class,which he has.
But i think thaat when Italy comes into this defensive shell,the attributes that Fiore and Totti have,their creativity and ball skills goes to waste,cause their constantly defending.I think if DelPiero was there instead of Totti i think the same outcome would have been,Delpiero chasing,just like Totti.Cause when DelPiero gets introduced into the game,the game is more opened and space is larger due to the opposite team committing more players open.
Amo,cut Delvecchio some slack,i know you don't like him,but lets see what he did in ten minutes:
1.stayed onside
2.able to shield the ball and layoff
3.Not so easy to push off the ball like Inzaghi,its ridiculous how easy he's able to get shouldered off the ball when its a 50/50 type situation.
4.almost caused an own goal due to his physical presence,whereas Inzaghi would of easily been defended off.
For me,i hope Zoff will change the forward line,or at least sub in the players a little earlier to see if they can get us more.I would love to see Montella in there,he's destined to prove something,and he can give so much more than 'Superpippo'
 

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I agree with Amoroso, I think you guys are being a bit too hard on Delvecchio. Considering that was his first appearance in the tournament, and he *did* almost force an own goal, that tells me in that short period of time he's already proven himself to be more valuable than Inzaghi. He did a good job killing time by keeping the ball away from the Belgian defense, and as previously mentioned....HE STAYED ONSIDE! That alone is a hell of a lot more than Inzaghi did the entire match. I wouldn't mind seeing Roma's Triangle d'Italia up front next match, maybe replace either Montella or Delvecchio with Del Piero. One thing's for sure, I DO NOT want to see Inzaghi make an ass of himself and the Italian shirt in the match against Sweden.
 
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