Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Five children among seven killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

Sport

Title holders Italy crash out after defeat to Slovakia

Video by Alexis MASCIARELLI

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-25

Italy coach Marcello Lippi took "full responsibility" for the defending champions' early exit from the World Cup on Thursday after the Azzurri ended their miserable campaign on a 3-2 defeat to Slovakia.

AFP - Whenever a team under performs at a major tournament and crashes out the evaluation of what went wrong can be long and complicated but with Italy that will be far from the case.

Italy's deficiencies, or rather primary deficiency, has long been known, analysed, dissected and contemplated.

Before the team even arrived in South Africa, everyone back home knew exactly what their problem would be: scoring goals.

And so it proved following Thursday's shock 3-2 defeat to Slovakia that left the reigning champions in the unenvious position of joining France as recent holders who have suffered the ignominy of failing to reach the knock-out stages in the defence of their title.

Italy's attack was their major failing in their first two Group F games, both of which ended in 1-1 draws with Paraguay and New Zealand.

While they enjoyed plenty of possession and remained largely untroubled at the back, they simply couldn't find a way to break down their opponents' defences.

Italy were lacking in guile, flair, creativity and clinical finishing as they continually failed to fabricate scoring opportunities.

The whys and the hows, though, is where the real debate begins.


Italy came to South Africa with a selection of five strikers but amongst them was no-one who could be considered a number 10, the player who often creates a goal for his strike partner.

Alberto Gilardino, Vincenzo Iaquinta and Giampaolo Pazzini are honest number nines and gave Lippi several options in his central striking role while in Fabio Quagliarella and Antonio Di Natale there was also plenty of pace and ability to play in wide positions.

But with midfield playmaker Andrea Pirlo arriving in the country with a calf injury and missing the first two games, Italy had no-one capable of creating chances.

And it was that fact that made the omission of Sampdoria's errant forward Antonio Cassano, or even that of veterans Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero, all the more baffling.

The debate raged ahead of the finals as to which forwards Lippi would take and in the end the World Cup winning coach from 2006 decided not to take any risks.

And it was exactly that risk-free approach that cost the Azzurri so dear.

They never committed enough bodies forward and never went hell for leather in search of a goal, preferring instead to rely on their traditional strengths, a solid defence and the ability to snatch a goal out of nothing.

However, their rock solid backline had two lapses in the first two games, and both ended in goals as they failed to deal with free-kicks into their box.

And when things came to the crunch, it was their defence which faltered the most in the final group match as they conceded three times, ironically in the one match when their forwards finally found their stride.

But despite that late flurry, there was an obvious lack of attacking threat in the Italy attack throughout the tournament.

What Cassano might have brought would have been a bit of invention or vision in a tight space to unlock a stubborn defence.

However, history was not on his side as he failed miserably at both the European Championships in 2004 and 2008 while there remains a question mark over his temperament.

Having brought five forwards, though, it seems incomprehensible that Lippi would have gone so safe on all five picks and not even contemplated putting a joker in the pack just in case they needed a little spark.

When that time came, Lippi had only Pirlo, who was not properly fit, to call on and that proved too little, too late.
 

Date created : 2010-06-24

  • WORLD CUP

    New Zealand muster shock 1-1 draw with Italy

    Read more

  • WORLD CUP 2010

    Paraguay hold champions Italy to 1-1 draw

    Read more

  • WORLD CUP

    Paraguay beat Slovakia to close in on second round

    Read more

COMMENT(S)