Originally Posted by M2
Actually, yeah. I think Roberto Gotta is putting some heavy gilding on that lily.
I'll give Italy some credit. When it chose to attack during the tournament, it pushed more players forward than in previous years, but outside of 12 minutes today and the overtime against Germany, they showed darn little of it in the last two games. They were fun against Ukraine, but Ukraine was just about the most porous, overmatched final eight team you're likely to see.
What game were you watching? Italy spent the last 90 minutes of the game almost never crossing the midfield line. How can a team that mounts no attack be getting defenders into the attack? Sagnol and Ribery were working the right and Abidal and Malouda were working the left all game long, pulling frequent switches.
The coaches may have both deployed a 4-5-1 on paper, but the French clearly sent more players forward. They were winning the overwhelming bulk of the balls in the midfield and their transition from defense to offense was light years ahead of the Italians. Meanwhile, the Italians played what amounted to a six- or seven-man backline for the bulk of the game. Like I said, they do it to perfection. Teams can break themselves running at the stone wall the Italians construct. It won them a World Cup, but don't tell me they don't construct that wall or that they're playing attacking football. I'm fully cognizant of what the Italians do well and they certainly deserve their due for it, but outside of winning it's a style that just about no one wants to emulate.
I won't argue the second half. It was quite obvious that the Italians were worn out and were losing the game badly in the midfield. They couldn't play an attacking style at that point.
But in earlier games I felt they played a more pressing style and even the first half yesterday. Obviously they had to pretty early on.