Can Or Conte Italy Win The Euro’s?

Can Or Conte Italy Win The Euro’s?
Apr 14, 2016

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When it comes to Euro’s, Italy are not to be taken lightly, they’ve reached the final in the competition twice in the last four tournaments, most recently against Spain in 2012 where they lost 4-0. Ever since Conte took over from Prandelli in 2014, he’s been experimenting formations to suit his squad to the best it can be, a lot like he did at Juventus, varying between the 3–5–2, 4–3–3, 4–2–4 and 3–3–4. What those formations tell you is that Conte likes to attack with pace and width, especially with his wingbacks more or less acting as wingers and the holding midfielder to sit back and more or less make it a back three. Conte bases his team off tactical intelligence and high work rate, you will not see an Italy team who are lazy and sluggish, this setup and style of play reminds me of Bielsa’s Bilbao team.

This is the squad I would take,
GK: Buffon, Sportiello, Donnarumma.
DF: Darmian, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Antonelli, De Sciglio.
MF: Verratti, Marchisio, Montilivo, Giaccherini, Candreva, Bonaventura, Parolo, Florenzi
ST: Insigne, Pelle, El Shaarawy, Bernardesci, Zaza, Eder

In my opinion, the best way to set up with this Italy team is 352, why? because when you have that Juventus back line, you have to play it. With Bonucci, Barzagli and Chiellini in front of Buffon as your defence, you’re going to have a big chance of keeping a clean sheet or staying in the game, furthermore, when up against the ‘bigger’ teams, Italy’s ability to defend better than most for 90 minutes will play a big part if they want to get to the business end of the competition. I’d also use Florenzi and Candreva as the wing backs but more so without the ball, it’s a back 5, Candreva as a wing back might come as a surprise but I think he could be used in the same sort of way Cuadrado gets deployed for Juventus, defensively astute but absolutely lethal on the counter attack. Florenzi on the other side purely for the fact that he is what I believe to be a typical Conte player, work horse, can play anywhere in the midfield and on either side at the back, tactically a very good player and also a leader and they’re gonna need that with the notable absence of the likey departing De Rossi and Pirlo. The middle of the park is probably the easiest to pick in this team, Verratti and Marchisio are pretty much nailed on to start so it’s then really a battle between Montilivo and Parolo to complete that final 3. I’d personally go with Montilivo just because it’ll bring a sense of security around the CM area. All 3 of these players are world class at reading the game on a tactical level and when it comes to moving the ball quickly in tight spaces, is there a better midfield in the world?.

We know Italy are always on the money when it comes to tactics, the only problem they have as of late is the strikers situation, they don’t seem to have a striker that can put the ball in the net on a regular basis. Believe it or not, the top scorer in their current squad is Daniele De Rossi who has 17 goals, closely followed by Andrea Pirlo on 13. The Striker that has the most goals for Italy is Giuseppe Rossi with 7 goals and he hasn’t played for Italy since 2014. So who could they turn to lead the line? as you can see, I’d take a punt with two up front and those two players being Pelle and Eder. Pelle obviously for being a target man ad bringing other players into play and he’s an intelligent striker. Eder for that creativity and unpredictability that he brings and can also play slightly off Pelle which creates space for both of their natural game. This could be a strong factor if Italy were to fail because they haven’t got that world class striker, albeit Pelle and Eder aren’t exactly mugs themselves but they’re not known for scoring a hefty amount at international level. It’s also worth noting that both of these players are 29/30 and are only really just getting a taste of International football at a top level and that could prove costly when attacking, Conte has probably got the hardest job on his hands compared to Prandelli as this side is is now a mix of experience and no experience, whereas the squad in previous tournaments, most of the players knew what it was like to play in these competitions. With this part of the field being the toughest to choose from, Balotelli feel hard done by not getting picked? it doesn’t look like he will go due to his club form at Milan but that begs the question, surely taking a gamble on Balotelli could pay off because he has to be better than Pelle, right? only time will tell what squad will go and I have a sneaky feeling Conte could go out on a high for when he joins Chelsea.

Some of you must be wondering how can you leave out Insigne and El Shaarawy with the form they’re currently in, simple, the Juventus back 3 is far too good to drop but that’s the beauty of having that good options on the bench that you can change formation to a 343 because they have the quality of players to do that. I’ve also included Bernardesci over Berardi because of the versatility Bernardesci can bring, his defensive work rate and ability to play in numerous positions could be essential for Conte if he was to change things around. One of the good things about this squad is the fact that most of these players can play in varied positions due to the way their teams set up in Serie A, I look at Italy being the bench mark for tactics and it’s proven by Conte and his ability to use his squad to the best of it’s ability, not only that, his team can play the short passing game out the back where Bonucci, like at Juventus under Conte, could be used as a ball playing centre back and used as almost a CDM for when either Verratti or Montilivo are occupied. Or italy could switch it to more of a direct style, counter attack football but with high pressing so you get the ability to force your opponents into an error. It all depends on the formation Conte is going to use and whatever that formation is, I’m quietly confident that this Italy team can pull off a shock.

 

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