Posts Tagged ‘Andrea Barzagli’

Euro 2012 ITALY ROSTER – Official List of 23 Players

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

National team coach Cesare Prandelli has made the Azzurri’s roster official, and communicated his list to UEFA.

Compared his previous version, the manager has left out Andrea Ranocchia and Mattia Destro. Doubts remain on the eligibility of Leonardo Bonucci, currently under investigation in the massive betting scandal surrounding Italian soccer this week.

The list also made the squad numbers for the final phase of the tournament official.


Euro 2008 – Gazzetta rates the Italy Players

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Euro 2008 - Gazzetta rates the Italy Players

Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport rated the Azzurri players at the end of their European adventure. Along with Gigi Buffon, positive scores were obtained by Chiellini and Grosso. All the strikers flunked the test, while some midfielders could have done better. The overall form however, was never great.

VIENNA (Austria), 24 June 2008 – The best? Gigi Buffon. Our European campaign won’t leave any great memories, but once again everyone’s talking about the Azzurri keeper. On Sunday evening at the Ernst Happel stadium in Vienna, there was a heated debate in the press over whose skills were better: the Azzurri captain’s or Iker Casillas‘. A duel right down to the last save, but even though the Real Madrid keeper managed a miracle on Camoranesi’s close-range effort and saved two of the Azzurri shots from the spot, the Juventus nº1 still seems have the edge as World’s best. When accounts are settled, Buffon remains the guiding thread of the Italian national side, and a certain starting point for the next World Cup in 2010.


Gianluigi BUFFON
Riddled with shots by Holland, not even Superman himself could have held out with no protection in front of him. Then came the Mutu penalty save, other fabulous interventions, and the hope he gave Italy fans by saving Guiza’s spot-kick during the shootout. What more could he have done?
An understudy, as he knew he would be. Impeccable in training, he provided Donadoni’s cement to unite the group.
Like Amelia he had no hopes of playing, but he kept his concentration up; a professional.
It wasn’t the Championship he was dreaming of. After an inadequate start against Holland on the left, the new AC Milan recruit became productive on the right side. Then there was that error against Romania which led to Mutu’s goal. Against Spain he couldn’t fully display his abilities.
Christian PANUCCI
Four games out of four; the message to Spalletti is loud and clear. He gave his best playing in the centre.
Exceptional against Spain, he played a true veteran’s game. At the end of the Championship the youngster can be certain of his starting place in the national team. At the heart of the defence, he was relentless. A Cannavaro nº2.
Alessandro GAMBERINI
He had no chance to show off his qualities; important in training at Casa Azzurri.
Unlucky; a jinxed European Championship, like Cannavaro. Only one performance against Holland to his name, and one he will want to forget very soon.
Overwhelmed by the orange tide, he paid the price for a mediocre season with Inter, one which started too late.
As ever, he tracked along the wing for the Azzurri. With him the national side relived moments of World Cup glory, and against Spain he once again showed a cool head for penalties.
He was thrown into the mix against Spain too hastily. Out of his element, almost lost, he couldn’t achieve his potential.
Andrea PIRLO
Curse that stupid yellow card against France. A bad start against Holland, then continuous improvement. Without him, the team lost its direction and its decisive touch. Irreplaceable.
Out of form (and it showed) but he never held back. The absence of his weight in midfield was felt in Vienna.
Daniele DE ROSSI
Among the best players of the championship, though he had some problems against Spain. Unfortunate to miss his penalty, but the Roma player, who is always willing to take a spot kick, was suffering a muscle problem.
Once he came on, the match against Spain took a new turn; perhaps if he’d played from the start things would have been different. Improved throughout the tournament, with a great goalscoring chance and a perfect penalty.
Out of form, and against Spain it really showed. On the other hand there wasn’t much more he could do, lacking support from Toni and Cassano.
His usual combative self in midfield, providing the spirit and pressure of the team, and creating depth of play.
The mystery of the tournament. Heavy and ungainly, he never achieved acceptable form. Though he did win the penalty against France and Abidal’s resulting red card, not enough by LucaBomber standards.
With Toni so out of sorts, he might have provided the added edge that was needed; a real shame.
Coming on against Spain, he revitalised play as only he knows how, making up for his poor start against the Dutch with several crosses and going close to goal. Shame about the penalty.
Only played a few minutes; he deserved more of a chance too.
At the end of the day, another disappointment after much promise. Only the good performance against France remains to his credit, but in Vienna a more practical and less flashy Cassano was needed.
Alessandro DEL PIERO
He had a great chance against Romania and messed it up. Absent.


Do you agree with Gazzetta’s ratings? Let us know in the comments.

I’ll get you started: I would give Camoranesi and Ambrosini 6.0 (not 6.5). Ambro did his job but made a few mistakes too many, and Camoranesi had a fairly okay game vs. Spain (and good penalty) but really not much else before that. In his defense, Donadoni was playing him as center attacking midfielder, not exactly his ideal position.

Finally, too generous on Di Natale (5.5 for me) since the Udinese striker was absent vs. Netherlands and seemed too psychologically affected by the boos vs. Spain. And too harsh on Cassano and Del Piero (an extra 0.5 for me), even though I will agree that a lot more was expected from them.

Have your say below.

Netherlands 3-0 Italy: The Aftermath

Monday, June 9th, 2008

After a match like this, one would normally do well to take a night’s rest to carefully analyze the situation, see what went wrong, and what can be done to correct it. That is undoubtedly what Roberto Donadoni and his players will be doing over the next few days, to make sure that this debacle isn’t repeated vs. Romania.

I, on the other hand, have the luxury to live in timezone where a night’s rest isn’t necessary: at 7′o clock in the evening I can attempt to take a preliminary guess at why (oh why) Italy conceded 3 goals tonight, without scoring any.

Culprit nº1: The Defense (in particular the center-backs)

When a team concedes 3 goals, it’s pretty obvious: it is either the defense’s fault, the goalkeeper’s fault, or both. When you have someone like Gigi Buffon, you’re pretty much covered goalkeeping-wise. Gigi’s clearance on Van der Vaart’s cross may not have been impeccable (he could have played it safe by deflecting the ball into corner), you can’t really fault Italy’s nº1 for the 1-0.

Materazzi-Barzagli now… that’s a whole other story. Before tonight, these two had played together competitively only once (and that was over a year ago). After tonight’s performance, it seems fairly obvious that that one match wasn’t enough: cohesion, covering, and man-marking were all horribly off the mark today. No one without exception thought Cannavaro’s injury would be easy to overcome, but to think that his absence would weigh so heavily onto a team which, over the years, has made of defense of their strongest weapons, was absolutely unthinkable. Over the next few days, Donadoni’s biggest efforts will have to be focused on this problem, because a solution is needed. Fast.

Materazzi‘s match (much like his season this year) was mediocre at best. My guess is that he just doesn’t have reliability anymore, he has lost his place as a starter. Barzagli wasn’t all that better to be honest, but at least one step higher than his Inter colleague. Unfortunately, alternatives aren’t exactly abundant in the Azzurri camp. Giorgio Chiellini had a phenomenal season with Juve in this role, but his recent test-match with Barzagli during practice ended with his team conceding five goals. Not the greatest of omens. Christian Panucci did a little better as he reverted to center-back during today’s match, but not by a great stretch. However, Fabio Grosso‘s rising match-form (both during training and vs. Netherlands) would make this solution the most likely choice for the match against Romania.

Culprit nº2: The Offside

You can say whatever you want about the Azzurri’s performance: they didn’t play well, they made too many mistakes, Holland deserved their win, blah blah blah. The fact of the matter is that, at the end of the day, the pivotal point in this match was Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s 1-0 goal. Was it offside, was it not offside? The key element to consider here is Panucci’s position at the time of Van Bronckhorst’s shot. There is absolutely no question that RVN was a good 2-3 yards past Andrea Barzagli at that time, so the question is: did the linesman base his call by considering Panucci was in fact in play, or is he just fu**ing blind as a bat?

No doubt UEFA will come up with some kind of statement in the next few days to clear this up, but my take on the matter: Panucci was out of the playing field, not participating in the play, and therefore cannot be considered as keeping RVN onside. Big fu**ing mistake by the linesman in my opinion.

Culprit nº3: Roberto Donadoni

Well, undoubtedly the coach is going to get some blame for this. Ultimately a few of his choices directly led to the Azzurri’s defeat today, but the question is: would anyone have done differently?

Starting from the Materazzi-Barzagli pick, it was undoubtedly a mistake that backfired, but in all honesty and in Donadoni’s defense: I would have chosen the exact same men. Materazzi had the experience, the reliability with the Azzurri shirt, and seemed the most ideal candidate to replace Fabio Cannavaro. Recent tests made with Chiellini-Barzagli hadn’t exactly been promising (see above), so the only other viable alternative was to put Panucci in the center and Grosso on the left. Something which, given the Lyon wing-back’s limited contribution to the defensive effort, Donadoni was probably not ready to risk.

By the same token, the Don’s choice at picking Massimo Ambrosini over Daniele De Rossi can be defended with the same arguments: “playing it safe” vs. “taking a chance”. Ambrosini gives more to the defensive effort than DDR, and his entente with AC Milan teammates Pirlo & Gattuso gives plenty of reliability (usually) to Italy’s midfield. Faced with a tough opponent like Holland, my guess is that Donadoni wanted to play the containment card early, leaving the ace of creativity to the likes of Pirlo, Di Natale, and Camoranesi. Given how things have turned out today, this was obviously the wrong choice but once again, crucifying Donadoni for it would be unjustified.

Now with that said, let’s leave the Devil’s advocate vest on the coat hanger and look at what Donadoni did do wrong (and should take blame for). Firstly the substitutions: they came too late. Had the score been only 0-1, one could have understood the Don not wanting to take too many chances just yet. However, the Azzurri were already two goals down at the break and considerably suffering in both defense & midfield. Changes were necessary to inject some creativity and at least attempt to turn things around. Grosso’s insertion for Materazzi was a good move, but was leaving Daniele De Rossi off the bench wise? Shouldn’t have more defensive players like Gattuso or Ambrosini made way for Serie A’s best midfielder this year, perhaps even for Alberto Aquilani? Finally, was keeping Cassano on the bench till minute 75 really a good idea?

The answer to all those questions, looking at tonight’s final result, is obviously no.

Minor culprits: The Midfield and Luca Toni

Now I now what you’re going to say… “don’t you fu**ing dare touch Luca Toni, what else could he have done?!” Notice I put our beloved Bayern Munich striker in the “minor culprit” section. And the answer to that previous question is… something more. This wasn’t, by all accounts, Toni’s finest performance. He did his share for a while but at some point, collectively collapsed mentally like the rest of his teammates. That missed re-directed header for Di Natale in minute 8 and that missed shot over van der Sar in minute 75 also raise questions… you’re much better than this Luca!! We need our goalscoring machine.

Onto a “less controversial” issue: the midfield. Today, it was quite simply terrible. Not as bad as the defense mind you, but when your opponents manage to beat you in ball possession, speed, and technique quite so vividly, something’s not working right. With Ambrosini, this should have been a “contain” type of midfield. It turned out to be quite the opposite (and the defense didn’t help). Common sense suggests Daniele De Rossi should be making a start vs. Romania in 3 days’ time.

My predictive guess for Italy’s formation in the next match?

Zambrotta, Panucci, Barzagli, Grosso
Gattuso, Pirlo, De Rossi
Camoranesi, Toni, Di Natale

And I’d say the odds of Di Natale & Del Piero are about 60/40 right now…

Cannavaro-Heartbreak: Ankle Injury Sends Azzurri Captain Home

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

God bloody darnit!! :( (((((((

The Azzurri’s first day in Austria started in the worst possible way Monday: captain Fabio Cannavaro picked up a knock as he challenged the ball with teammate Giorgio Chiellini, and the late prognosis indicates what everyone had been fearing but dared not to think about: ligament damage to the left ankle, Cannavaro will have to go home. An operation might even be necessary for the Real Madrid center-back, but that’s something to be decided by the Merengues doctor.

In his place, Roberto Donadoni will most likely call up Fiorentina’s Alessandro Gamberini (reports seem to have that already confirmed) but at this point, there’s really no one that could have the same happy spirit, leadership, and defensive capabilities as Cannavaro. He was the symbol of our World Cup title in 2006, the link that kept the defensive chain together, and the unquestionable team leader of the Azzurri. This is a big fu**ing blow for Donadoni, not a single shred of doubt about that.

The question now obviously, is WHO? That is, WHO will replace our Berlin Wall, and partner up with Andrea Barzagli in the Azzurri defense?

Our options are four-fold:

1) Marco Materazzi
He didn’t have one of his best years with Inter, and his mediocre season culminated with the show he put on in the game vs. Siena (offside back save on Julio Cruz’s shot, then insisting on taking Cruz’s PK and missing it). Despite all that, Matrix remains the most likely vice-Cannavaro candidate, on account of his international experience and reliability with the Azzurri shirt. Let’s face it: aside from that 2006 red card vs. Australia, Materazzi’s record with Italy has been almost impeccable.

2) Giorgio Chiellini
For Juve’s return to Serie A, he formed with Nicola Legrottaglie one of the best defensive duos of the Italian league this year. 2007-08 was by far one of the best seasons in Chiellini’s career, and the fact that he performed so well in an unfamiliar role (Ranieri converted him from left to center-back) just adds more praise to Keyser Giorgio’s achievement. The only snag: very limited international experience (European cups included).

3) Christian Panucci
Right now, it seems that “Old Man River” is the most likely candidate for a right-back starting role. However, the great thing about Panucci is that the right-back can transform into a very reliable center-back as well (as he did many times with Roma this year). This would shift Zambrotta to the right and bring in Fabio Grosso on the left, and the advantage of this solution is the incredible amount of experience and reliabilty Panucci would bring to the center-back position.

4) Alessandro Gamberini
He’s had an excellent season with Fiorentina this year, but right now he undoubtedly is the least likely candidate for a starting role.


The second question Cannavaro’s absence brings up is… CAPTAINCY. Who will be the successor? Every clue points to Gigi Buffon, although other possibilities include Alessandro Del Piero (which at this point, becomes the Azzurri’s most capped player in Donadoni’s roster), Andrea Pirlo, or even Gennaro Gattuso.

Here’s what Gazzetta readers think:

Italy’s Euro 2008 Roster – 23 Players, Aye to Cassano & Del Piero, Nay to Montolivo

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

In accordance to the UEFA-imposed May 28 deadline, Italian coach Roberto Donadoni has made his final roster selection for Euro 2008: the 23 players who will representing the Azzurri this Summer have been picked and as many expected, Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo was the player discarded from the manager’s Pre-selection list.

I was expecting it, I’m not too disappointed” said Montolivo. “The coach told me I had been excluded from the roster, and we’ll discuss the possibility of me staying among the group until Friday, and perhaps participating in the friendly vs. Belgium in Florence“. Donadoni himself however revealed, later in the day, that Montolivo would be leaving Coverciano. “The choice has been made yesterday evening. I gave [Montolivo] the choice of remaining with us, and he decided to leave tonight“.

It’s worth mentioning that Montolivo was, until the last minute, in serious contention with Quagliarella. It isn’t a coincidence that in the official team picture, both Montolivo and Quagliarella appear on the far ends of the second and bottom rows respectively (i.e. in easy “position” to be cut out). The same situation had taken place for Euro 2000 and Giuseppe Pancaro, who was then discarded at the last minute by then-coach Dino Zoff.

Also, many (myself included) had expected the Don to make his final choice between Montolivo and Aquilani (who was struggling with form & playing time in the last part of the season), but I guess Donadoni was reassured by the performances of the Roma player during practice, and reverted his final choice to Montolivo/Quagliarella (the Udinese striker also had a bleak end of the season, compared to his usual abilities).

In addition, the final shirt numbers have been submitted to UEFA. De Rossi has inherited Totti’s nº10, Del Piero will be keeping nº7, and Cassano wil take nº18 (formerly Pippo Inzaghi’s).

Here’s the full list with numbers:

Number Goalkeepers: Club:
Nº14 Marco Amelia Livorno
Nº1 Gianluigi Buffon Juventus
Nº17 Morgan De Sanctis Sevilla
Nº6 Andrea Barzagli Palermo
Nº5 Fabio Cannavaro Real Madrid
Nº4 Giorgio Chiellini Juventus
Nº3 Fabio Grosso Lyon
Nº23 Marco Materazzi Inter
Nº2 Christian Panucci Roma
Nº19 Gianluca Zambrotta Barcelona
Nº13 Massimo Ambrosini Milan
Nº22 Alberto Aquilani Roma
Nº16 Mauro Camoranesi Juventus
Nº10 Daniele De Rossi Roma
Nº8 Gennaro Gattuso Milan
Nº20 Simone Perrotta Roma
Nº21 Andrea Pirlo Milan
Nº12 Marco Borriello Genoa
Nº18 Antonio Cassano Sampdoria
Nº7 Alessandro Del Piero Juventus
Nº11 Antonio Di Natale Udinese
Nº15 Fabio Quagliarella Udinese
Nº9 Luca Toni Bayern Munich