Saturday, 23 June 2012

Italian view: Roy is no Capello


The switch from Fabio Capello to Roy Hodgson represents a big step down in quality for England, according to Eurosport-Yahoo!'s Italian expert.

Fabio Capello
Ahead of England's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy, we asked our Milan-based journalist Alessandro Brunetti for his view on the two sides.
While Brunetti praised England, he believes the loss of Capello - who resigned in February over John Terry's sacking as captain - could hurt the Three Lions.
The Italian view on England
Steven Gerrard is the best player in this England team - the Liverpool captain is a real leader. He is charismatic, and very important from a tactical point of view. With his technique and passes, he can slice through the Italian defence, and his shooting is very powerful.
Obviously Wayne Rooney is the second danger for the Azzurri. The Manchester United forward will want to make up for lost time after his suspension. In my opinion, he is one of the best forwards in the world.
We know Roy Hodgson very well, and he knows our football well - so it could be a small advantage for England. Hodgson knows our style, and how to counterract it.
England has a lot of qualities thanks to Hodgson's system, but above all thanks to Capello's management. It's a pragmatic team, physically strong and with good defensive organisation... in my opinion it is more Italian than the Italy team!
In the end, Hodgson is not Capello: he isn't a winning manager like the Italian, and does not have the same experience in big matches - that is a limitation. Also, Hodgson's focus on defence means he is not taking advantage of his forwards' incredible potential.
On Italy
Who's hot - Andrea Pirlo
At 32, he is the leader of this team. Pirlo is one of the best midfielders in the world - on a par with Xavi, in my opinion. He is a brilliant playmaker and can win a match alone with an assist or a 'Maledetta' (an incredible and perfect free-kick). Juventus won Serie A thanks to him, and Italian strategy totally depends on him. If Hodgson can stop him, England will have a much greater chance of victory.
Who's not - Leonardo Bonucci
Giorgio Chiellini's injury is a huge problem for Cesare Prandelli. Italy doesn't have its iron defence any more after the retirement of Alessandro Nesta and Fabio Cannavaro. Bonucci is young, but he is not a top player. Last season, even though Juventus won Serie A, he was a weak link for them. Rooney, Welbeck, Young and Walcott could all put him in trouble with their technique and speed.
Prandelli's system
Positives - After Italy went out in the group stage at the last World Cup, Prandelli has rebuilt the team focussing on young players. His first target has been to change the Italian game: no more 'Catenaccio'. He wants a team that plays football - ball possession to take advantage of small, fast, quality players like Antonio Cassano, Antonio Di Natale, Sebastian Giovinco and... Mario Balotelli. Prandelli has always defended Balotelli and everyone here in Italy hopes he is right.
Negatives - This team is missing a true striker. We just have 'little' forwards, but against physically strong teams like Ireland, Croatia and England it is importamt to have strong players (like Pazzini, Matri or Borriello, none of whom are in the squad). Moreover, we do not understand the position of Thiago Motta: he isn't a 'trequartista', as he doesn't have the speed to play the position. If Motta is out, Prandelli will replace him with another played (Riccardo Montolivo or Antonio Nocerino) who is not appropriate for the role. We would rather see Giovinco or Alessandro Diamanti as a 'trequartista' behind two strikers, not a slow and clumsy midfielder.

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