Originally Posted by Cedric
I don't really know what's not to praise about players like Zambrotta and Cannavaro. They won the world cup without one of the best CB's in the world also.
They are technically brilliant in what they do, I stand by that.
They're great defenders, but let's face it, they've got an inordinant amount of help. The entire Italian midfield is packed back on top of them. It's nothing unusual for an opponent to go on the attack against Italy and find eight Italian players between the ball and the goal.
They've got less ground to cover and if they get beat, usually two guys have already run in behind them. They never attack unless it's on a set piece. The French sent Sagnol and Abidal forward all day. Lahm and Friedrich attack for the Germans. Miguel, Ashley Cole, Maxi Rodriguez, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Sergio Ramos and a host of other defenders make regular forays into the offense and still play solid defense.
Italy's defenders, though ferocious and skilled, don't expend energy moving forward. Can they stop a great attacker one on one? By the looks of it, not that often. They almost always have numbers on defense. Looked to me like Henry could take Zambrotta at will. The problem was taking Zambrotta and two other guys and then lining up a clean shot on net.
It's a cynical, try-not-to-lose style they play. I give them all the credit in the world for playing it to perfection, but I also know most of the rest of the world finds it a far from admirable style of play.