Italy vs Uruguay was quite a boring match – Until of course Saurez bit Chiellini, and the Italian defense squandered a header goal to Godin (a player that’s been outstanding for Atletico all year).
Saurez should surely face some retribution from FIFA for being the “Cannibal” that he is biting Chiellini. Honestly though, the ref bit Italy far worse than Saurez ever could – because Marchisio’s red card seemed completely unwarranted.
That said, Italy bit themselves in the foot when they took out Balotelli with the fear that he’d get another yellow card and be sent off due to his temper. Balotelli presented a physical challenge to Uruguay’s defense that the smaller Immobile did not. Throughout the match vs. Uruguay, and the entire World Cup, Italy has had trouble finding an attack – Costa Rica beat them, and they could only just beat England by one goal. One reason for this has been Marchisio’s ineffectiveness as an attacking mid supporting Balotelli.
Marco Verratti was Italy’s one bright spot throughout this game, and World Cup. He should have played further up, in Marchisio’s role, especially as he proved today his ability to dribble past defenders to start attacks from the back in his role next to Pirlo. Cesare Prandelli tinkered around with his team too much during Italy’s three games, and should have figured out his best lineup before the World Cup began. It will be interesting to see Prandelli’s response to Italy’s first round exit, especially considering that Italy’s defense (known to be a stonewall) was quite unbalanced throughout. His decision to start three center backs in the back today was interesting, especially knowing that they only needed a tie. Rather than shore up the defense, three center backs seem to be their downfall – throughout the game Chiellini had been up the field on the left which seemed to be a ridiculous role for such a purely defensive player.
Another note from today’s game: Immobile failed to perform, and could not take down many through balls that Pirlo perfectly sliced through the defense, but… I can’t blame him, it takes time to establish a rhythm with a team, and he should have started all three games or had more time to gel before being inserted upfront.
Furthermore, some younger players like the tall and speedy Cerci should have played a bit more – Pirlo would have had a field day passing the ball to him and Balotelli as they both played upfront. In other words, Balotelli and Cerci are both 6 foot plus, technically sound, and remarkably quick, the perfect players for Pirlo to play the ball to, unlike the shorter Immobile.
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