domingo, 22 de junho de 2014

Una visione italiana do Itália - Costa Rica

O Davide Cafaggi tem ajudado este blogue na divulgação de várias perspetivas sobre o Mundial. Desta feita, contribui com um texto sobre o jogo da sua Nação com a Costa Rica. 

Sometimes, Italy's a tough team to love.

Sometimes, it's like the players were frozen on the field, waiting for something to happen, for a magic, lucky ball to materialize on their feet for the decisive occasion: a shoot, a cross, a gained corner, and everything will be alright again. 

Because that's how football works. 

It is true, but it is also true that you have to chase your luck, to create opportunities, to play every ball.

Whenever we got the ball, people started passing it around, in hopes that their teammates would have a better idea. 

Pass here, pass there, Italy completed 522 passes, almost twice the passes completed by our opponent, without building any dangerous action or even gaining a significative amount of corners.

It was a successful strategy against England, but with Costa Rica running like mad and preying on every ball, it lead us nowhere. After Ruiz's goal, in the second fraction, we were left chasing the ball and our opponents, just like England was on the first match.

Even the fresh, young and talented Darmian, was soon infected by the same mood of his teammates, after Balotelli refused to give him back the ball while he was sprinting towards the box. 

The same Balotelli who just stood there waiting for something, the most evident example of my initial rambling about the magic ball. 

He was always ready when the ball went his direction, but he never actually challenged the Costarican defenders by running around and opening spaces. Instead, they had time to recover energies, which were spent when stopping the occasional italian action actually required some effort on their side. Our offence was relatively easy to manage, and Italian players were caught a whopping 11 times in offside position.

To make things worst, after the referee wrongfully denied a penalty for Costa Rica, he tried to even things out by purposefully letting some fouls slip. In multiple occasions, he didn't stop the action and didn't extract a yellow card when he clearly should have done so. 

This behaviour could have had an even greater influence on the outcome of the match. Luckily, the Italian defence saved the team from taking another goal, in two such occurrences. The referee even blew his whistle before the end of the extra time, not to concede us a free kick.

Two wrongs don't make a right, they say. Mr. Osses probably knew that, since he gave his best to let the fellow Americans supporters pardon his mistake. This is unacceptable, especially when we use foam to esure the correct positioning of ball and defence on free kicks or sensors to determine if the ball passed the goal line.

We knew that Costa Rica was on fire, their morale boosted by the victory over Uruguay. A determined and hungry team, and we knew that, yet we failed to properly contain their players by using our (theoretical, probably self-assumed) techical superiority. 

But probably that's just who we are: Italians like to complicate things, and football is no exception. 

Italy hasn't been winning its second match at a World cup since 1998, with the third match always being the decisive one.

Tuesday, we'll play against Uruguay, fighting for the right to continue our adventure in the World Cup.

The winner will pass, of course, but a draw would favour Italy, because then goal difference (Italy 0 - Uruguay -1) would decide.

We have a good chance to pass the turn if we manage to recover energies and to play with the right attitude.

But that is a big IF.

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