Thursday, September 03, 2009

Twin wins to secure South Africa trip

Let's put it simply. A win on Saturday away to Georgia and another at home on Wednesday against Bulgaria will ensure we defend our world title. Even if we went and lost to the Republic of Ireland, a win at home to Cyprus in the final match would see us home.

It is a straightforward enough equation but the Azzurri rarely do things easy. The Confederations Cup was a debacle but the young generation looked alright in the Switzerland friendly. Now is the time to show everything can click together.

I don't really care about personnel. Yes, I would probably have liked to have seen Cassano get a call up but, as with all such omissions, he will only be missed if results go wrong. Even without him we should be able to get the twin wins.

After Fiorentina sneaking into the Champions League this would be another chance to blow away the cobwebs around Italian football. Are you too fed up reading that Serie A and the Nazionale are dead? If we could be sitting nicely clear at the top of our group by Wednesday night it would be the best answer to that possible. Vai, Italia!


Juventino said...

I voted yes in your little poll, ginkers. Cassano should always be ahead of Di Natale.

I know that there's an international break at this time every season, but I hate this one. It always ruins the excitement of the new season...and as a Juventino I'm plenty excited.

Anyway, forza Italia and all that. I don't mean to dump on anything Viola but if the extremely underwhelming Marchionni can get a call then with a little more effort I could have too. We'll get there but I expect it won't be pretty.

ginkers said...

I like Di Natale but Cassano is definitely a better player. And I agree with you about the frustrations of getting the season started and then putting everything on hold for a fortnight.

And I haven't seen anything from Marchionni so far to suggest he is any less irritatingly inconsistent than Semioli, Santana, Papa Waigo and everyone else we have tried in that position. I remain to be convinced.

However, you should be happy. I think Lippi considers him part of his "Juve block" even though he moved in the summer.

patcook said...

Im not so bothered about Cassano. National teams not about the best 23 players or however many you get to choose, its about the best combination and if Lippi feels Cassano doesnt fit into the balance he wants then thats fine.

Though, if it was me, I would be picking Cassano and trying to find away to fit him into the team

ginkers said...


After Saturday night's performance, the campaign for Cassano has grown stronger. However, as you say, if the team wins that is the main thing. Especially on Wednesday...

patcook said...

i think the biggest argument for cassano's inclusion is that he hasnt really got in to much trouble lately.

Even on a bad day he has enough talent, its just in the past that even on a good day he hasnt had the temprement.

ginkers said...

Absolutely spot on. The big question is how far do you trust him? In the end, I think you have to give him another chance but close the door for good if he messes up. The boy is too talented to ignore completely.

Juventino said...

If he does bring him in then I hope he doesn't do what Donadoni did in 2008: withstand the pressure to bring him in until the last moment, and then not know what line-up to play.

Juventino said...

Oh, and I hate gli azzurri playing 4-3-3.

ginkers said...

I agree with the first point, total waste of time doing that. Got to bring him in now or leave him out for good (I suspect Lippi will go for the latter).

As for the 4-3-3, it depends on the personnel and I don't think we have the players for it at the moment. On the other hand, watching, say, Cassano-Gilardino-Balotelli as your front three might be quite exciting...

Juventino said...

I think that was the best we’ve played since the 2-1 away to Scotland to clinch qualification for Euro 2008, if not longer. Two lovely goals.

I was impressed by Marchisio’s defensive work. He shut that side of the pitch down.

Pirlo was much better put into a position with a shorter passing range. Much less wasteful.

I’d be interested to know Zambrotta’s average runs up-field & crosses during the World Cup and comparing it to last night. He was the worst performer we had, I think.

Great to see Buffon’s reflexes as sharp as ever. I still can’t get over that save he made from Totti’s one-on-one on the stroke of half-time the other week!

Lippi changed things around well last night, but I still think more turnover is needed. We can’t go into the World Cup with 9 of the first 11 being World Cup winners. We’ll suffer the same fate as every other winner for the past 20 years. Mid-season qualifiers are a totally different prospect compared to a tournament which prolongs a season by up to 8 weeks.

ginkers said...

Definitely reasons to be cheerful last night. But, as you say, a bit more reconstructive surgery needs to be done. Boys like Marchisio, Santon and Criscito are giving this team a good makeover...

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