Okkkkaaayyyy…. What a match it was. It took some time yesterday after the match to bring myself down to a calm state.
Some felt italy had not been tested during the group stage. Was that test yesterday? It certainly looked like it.
It was a game of halves…or I guess quarters… Italy was the better team in the first half and the first extra time.. Austria rattled Italy in the 2nd half and were the better team and I will say had the edge in the 2nd extra time.
The lack of physical size in some of the key players reared its ugly head yesterday. Play makers like Verratti seemed to be sprawled all over the pitch far too often. I understand he’s a playmaker but he hung on to the ball far too long. The ball movement had to be a lot quicker and it wasn’t. Italy needs to get back to that type of game.
Except for the woodwork he hit, Immobile was a non factor, ineffective all game long. Was this due to good defending?I don’t know. Maybe. But on many occasions he seemed hesitant as to what to do next.
Spinazzola continues to shine in this tournament on that left side. The two goals were nice but he is the reason the goals even happened. Brilliant. In the 2nd half, Austria seemed to have neutralized that side.
The substitutions couldn’t have come at a better time. They offered a bigger presence on the pitch and are the big reason Italy has moved on.
I gave the edge to Austria in the 2nd extra time but overall, Italy could have put the game to bed with all the squandered chances they had in the extra time.
Yesterdays match certainly put a scare into Italy. Some pundits are already changing their tune about the team. Some are making silly comments like the screen grab below.
I didn’t watch the video because my time is precious but it’s a really dumb comment but to each his own. It certainly wasn’t their best match but to say Italy gave very little? come on.
Nowadays when you put out something to the internet you risk the ‘that didn’t age well’ reply… and it almost happened for one of the tweets I put out…Neville thinks Italy doesn’t have enough to go all the way and he was almost proven right yesterday and can still be proven right.
I say that sometimes when a team has it too easy that they need a good slap to the back of the head and a wake up call. I think and hope that came yesterday in the form of Austria. Italy will regroup and will be better for it moving forward. Like Mancini, I still believe overall they were the better team and deserved advancing to the next stage. But a high five to Austria for their performance. Grit and determination.
I think it will happen. On the Saturday Italy was to play Germany I found myself having a conversation about the Euro tournament with some of the Lakeshore PLSQ players prior to our scheduled match…The day i now refer to as “Dark Saturday”.. One player commented that he felt that everything was lining up for Portugal to win it all. He may be right.
I read a tweet yesterday that mentioned that in 1982 Italy won the World Cup after having tied all three of their group stage matches..I don’t necessarily believe there was a comparison being made but i don’t know that you can actually make one. For one, can you really make a comparison to something that happened way back in 1982 ;)? Secondly, the 3 draws for Italy were enough to get them out of the group stage. The same cannot be said for Portugal had the format not changed. Also, in 1982 Italy got better each game after the group stage. I don’t think you can say the same for Portugal …except for one person. Ronaldo. He’s gotten better and for a player of his caliber you knew it was just a matter of time. That’s why you can’t have a team that has CR7 linger in a tournament because you know at one point it will come back to haunt you. He’s just that good. I am a fan of Ronaldo and while he did struggle in the group stage and people shat on him on twitter, i defended him… Not that i have much clout! lol
In one of my earlier posts.. a post i wrote shortly after Italy was eliminated by Germany.. i wrote that i wasn’t sure who to root for but it certainly wouldn’t be Portugal. At the time, the emotions were still high and the anger over Italy being eliminated still present but now that time has healed my wounds (somewhat) i will change my tune and will root for Ronaldo. He deserves it.
Disclaimer: i have yet to watch the Italy v. Germany match. i am still in a dark place over it but i will eventually watch it. Possibly this weekend. I have only seen the highlights of the shoot out.
Now back to business… so Zaza is being meme crucified on the internet.. my god the amount of memes that have popped up since Saturday is staggering. Staggering!!! Truth be told, some are hilarious…What i find ridiculous is the claim that “it’s the worse PK ever”. No, it isn’t.
I am by no means an expert but i am trying to understand what Zaza’s mindset was.. to me, clearly he was trying to throw off Neuer.. How? simple…
By definition: Once the striker (player) starts his/her approach toward the ball, he/she may not interrupt his/her movement.
- You have those players that place the ball on the spot.. back up a few steps and in a running motion move toward the ball and strike it.
- You have those players that place the ball on the spot.. back up a few steps and start their approach toward the ball then “stutter step” and follow through..
- i am sure there are other approaches but …then you have the Zaza…
His movement, with small steps and ever so carefully, is always forward and toward the ball. As a goalie i think i would have a hard time reading when the player will attack and strike that ball.. The fact is that at any time during his,show horse style trot, Zaza could have just charged the ball and struck it. This was all a ploy to keep Neuer guessing. It was a tactic..In the end, it did not go Zaza’s way. It’s unfortunate.
Pelle’s kick as you can see below took the more “traditional” route with a little of that stutter step in it .. … yet he too missed..
The issue i have with Pelle’s is that he taunts Neuer that he will panenka it.. then he misses the net completely..when i first saw Pelle’s shot i felt that as he was approaching the ball that somehow he changed his mind, something happened because it looked like he really flubbed the kick completely. I am not so sure anymore.. what i do see though now is that he seems to give it away with a quick look to the side he eventually went with the ball.
a better video showing Pelle’s taunt…
Anyway, now i await with great anticipation the World Cup.. with, fingers crossed, Gigi Buffon between the pipes.
Italy lost yesterday at the Euro to Germany in PKs.. I was not able to watch the game. Well, it wasn’t so much that I was not able to but chose instead not to due to my unbelievable sense of obligation. I was committed to being at our scheduled league games and although I was a skip and hop away from my house I opted not to leave when the Italy match started. I did record the match but nowadays it’s almost impossible not to hear or know the result. In any case I couldn’t help myself but look anyway.
Italy fared well in this tournament. Described as the worse team put together for Italy in a long time not many thought they would do well. A lot of people were questioning Conte’s player selection. During a televised show where the whole team was there including Conte, the hostess point blank asked Conte if he thought he selected the best possible players. What a stupid and inappropriate question. Considering the players he selected were present as well. How do you expect him to answer this question? In any case, I think Italy answered that question on the pitch. It’s unfortunate to lose the way they did but that’s how the ball rolls sometimes. Believe it or not I called that Italy would beat Spain as much as I got mocked for it and I also predicted that the Germany game would go to shoot-outs… only I had Italy winning it. Oh well. As I wrote earlier I do have the game recorded but I am not sure if I will watch it. Atleast not immediately.. I am still reeling from it and all the tweets on this subject.
I want to say that at this point I really don’t care who wins it but that would be a lie. It would bother the shit out of me if Portugal wins it. A team that has played uninspired soccer so far.. was not able to win one game in the group stage and yet because of their easy bracket find themselves in the semis no less. Pure garbage.
I feel so gutted for this man…
It will be so weird not seeing him suit up for the national team.
Very interesting perception from the Belgium reporter that Belgium dominated… Maybe in ball possession but nothing else… Very few threatening moments. 🙂