Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Anyone expecting Marcello Lippi to drop the old guard in the near future is in for a big disappointment.It just isn’t the Italian way to give youth and inexperience a chance – look at the government and lack of fresh-faced politicians, the number of young entrepreneurs breaking through in the world of business and so on.A recent poll of graduate students had over 60 percent of them claiming they would look for a future in another European country or North America rather than waste away in a society of OAPs.And as we have witnessed, it is no different when it comes to football.
"No Andrea, you have to puff out your chest like this"
Bright young players are whisked off to the Premier League, and when they do prove themselves then no one is interested, the only positive note from South Africa, Giuseppe Rossi, being a case in point.
When you are cheering for your team to score at least one goal so they can sneak into the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup when they have been humiliated, then you know something isn’t right.That was the case on Sunday evening as the debacle unfolded against Brazil – as pale and insipid as their shirts, the Azzurri put in such a humbling performance that you have to wonder, where do we go from here?Lippi had no doubts where he was off to... the beach.
The coach already had his mind on a sun-lounger and a month to pick over the bones of the disaster that was the World Cup dry-run – and by the way there is still the small matter of actually qualifying for the finals to be resolved.
"I'm at the beach... I'm at the beach... I'm at the beach..."
A Serie Aaaaargh! Monday-morning straw poll had 95 percent of those questioned over their cappuccino responding with a definite “yes” to the question “should Lippi make whole-scale changes to his squad?”
The man who counts, of course, had only hours earlier reiterated his stance that you do not win major tournaments without tried and tested players.It is the old catch-22 situation: how can the untried become polished professionals if they never get a chance to prove themselves?Let’s remember that a decent chunk of those who lifted the World Cup in Germany were in South Africa where they: went a goal down to 10-man USA, lost to Egypt and were then played off the park by Brazil.It certainly doesn’t inspire confidence, but at the same time the U21s are showing the sort of commitment and endeavour in Sweden that should take them through to the knock-out stages of the European Championships.They overcame the hosts despite being reduced to 10-men thanks, once again, to the best and worst of Mario Balotelli: a stunning strike followed soon after by a stamp on an opponent and a red card.
Super Mario scores, then sees red
Unfortunately, the Inter striker falls into the same orbit as Antonio Cassano and Alessandro Del Piero: too individualistic for Lippi’s strict boot-camp mentality.
Then again, when you find yourself desperately seeking a goal to ensure you qualify for the next stage of a major finals, it is this sort of individual who can save the day with a moment of creativity.Lippi has plenty to occupy his mind over the summer, but as he sits on the beach maybe the sounds of youngsters kicking a ball around him, pretending to be Balotelli, Rossi and Cassano, will wake the old fella up to the future. I know, Serie Aaaaargh! doesn’t believe it either.
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Italy has no attacking mid/shadow striker without Totti/Del Piero, and the rest of the 06 squad doesn't have vitality or creativity (except Pirlo). Italy's best hope is to get as many U-21 or other Italians in Serie A to play for the national team as possible. Juventus, Inter, and other clubs have plenty of young talents, so just feed them some experience and Italy might make through the group stage next year.
If Lippi is not going to change his stance then get him out of there before it's too late. Someone in the board should already see a humiliating catastrophe approaching. Get a younger manager like Zola or promote Casiraghi. Prandelli would be a good shout as well now that Ancelotti is in Chelsea. Read my blog http://rasvinder.wordpress.com to know more on my opinions of the Azzuri's failures.
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