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I am an American of mixed Irish/Italian descent, so I root for both those teams in the WC.

I don't claim to be an authority since I don't have access to Italian football on a regular basis. I just have opinions like the rest of you. We are all dilettantes, even Fangul, though most of us are not as obnoxious as he.

I come away from this world cup distinctly proud and please with Ireland's performance and dissappointed ONCE AGAIN with Italy's. Even though both went out at the same time, the quality of football and entertainment value between the two wasn't even comparable. Ireland overachieved, gave 100% and took the game to the opponent. They lost their best player before the tournament started and still played well as a team.

Italy does not play like a well coached team. I'm sorry, their offense has pathetic build up. It is all improvisation, there is next to no rhythm. They look like great individual players who do not have any feel for each other. The passing is not crisp or intelligent. The defense seemed average, not superior.

Here are my impressions.
Ireland - blood and guts, barroom fighters.
Italy - pretty boys who compete to see who spends more time on their hair.

Ireland - attempt to win the entire field.
Italy - concede 3/4 of the field and pack in the defense in the last 1/4 of the field. How can you do this for 75 minutes trying to protect a one point lead? It is insane. The SKoreans were able to send many men into the box and they executed very nice give and go's.

Ireland - contemporary tactics. Not fast but quick. Advance the ball via possession and use the long pass only when there is a master (Quinn) on the receiving end.
Italy - no possession whatsoever. Pure improvisation off of long balls, hoping for a lucky bounce.

Ireland - trying to create a tradition. Hungry.
Italy - undeservedly touting their tradition. Lazy and arrogant. Italy has not done much recentl other than a good performance in Euro2000. Other than that, they continue to play boring football while the rest of the world passes them by. They undeservedly claim to be continuing a great tradition. I say that tradition is worthless unless the current practitioners are worthy of succession.

Ireland - attitude is all about work. Ireland doesn't ***** and moan they play and then they accept the consequences. Their fns are proud even in a loss because their lads played their hearts out and the whole world can see it on the field.
Italy - attitude is all about luck The whole country seems obsessed with luck and conspiracies against it. I have never seen so much commentary about "we were unlucky", "everybody is against us". This is loser talk. This is the talk of a fallen giant. Italy is rightly disliked around the world now, not because they were once great and have a great tradition (as most Italian fans think). Italy is disliked because they are correctly perceived as playing retro football. The Italian games are interesting only to Italian fans. Who else wants to watch a team get a 1-0 lead and then pack the defense for 75 minutes?


Finally Italians don't even realize how UNSUCCESSFUL their defensive tactics are. Did the victorious Italian teams try and sit on 1-0 leads? I am not old enough to recall, but I doubt it. Do most Italian fans realize that in WC play Italy only protects a 1-0 lead less than 40% of the time?

Italy needs new blood and new ideas. It all starts with the coach. Trap may not be to blame for the poor performance of individual players, but he is to blame for leaving better players behind in Italy. He is to blame for not playing the most in form striker Montella. He is to blame for the tactic of trying to sit on a lead against team after team. He is to blame for instilling the attitude and the lack of energy and fight.
 

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nice post man

Great analysis.

All I know is this. Itlay twice had 1-0 leads late in this tourney against Croatia and Korea but decided to pack it and play for the 1-0 win. In the old days it worked.
Not this time though. Croatia and Korea both came back to win. And it serves Italy right for not going in for the kill when they had a 1-0 lead...

Italy has talent but they don't use it to maximize their potential.

What can I say? I was hoping to see Italy vs Spain. That would have been a good one.

Oh well. Good luck to Italy in Euro qualifiers. Particularily vs serbia and montenegro (or whatever the hell they call themselves these days) ;)
 
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