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Lacklustre Italy in Attendance Once More

Posted by David Schiavone Tuesday, September 8, 2021

Italy took another step towards World Cup qualification a 2-0 victory over Georgia courtesy of a Kakha Kaladze own-goal brace. However, this result does mask what was a lacklustre performance from the Azzurri and if this is the best Italy can do then the title of ‘World Champions’ will most definitely be shifting.

As the line ups were announced, Lippi sprung a couple of surprises, preferring Domenico Criscito to Fabio Grosso while giving Marco Marchionni his first Azzurri start since 2006 and starting He also started with a 4-4-2 formation, instead of the 4-3-3 that has been the Italian staple for the last couple of years.

In terms of player performances, the most notable were Criscito along with Camoranesi, substitutes D’Agostino and Quagliarella. Buffon also did well when called upon and produced a couple of truly stunning reaction saves, for me, still the best in his position.

It must be said; the lack of creativity and killer touch in attack is vast. Giuseppe Rossi was given a rare start and produced a woeful performance, which led to his removal. Iaquinta for all his hard work does not, it seems, possess the required quality to play at this level, for all his endeavour he continues to be wasteful in front of goal.

Criscito made a fine claim for the starting left-back slot as his marauding runs forward were proving to be extremely dangerous to the Georgian backline, and on one occasion he dribbled past three players in the penalty area before being bundled over, but the referee waved play on.

Quagliarella was dangerous when he came on, looking lively upfront and hitting the upright with a diving header. D’Agostino carried his form over from last season and was extremely assured in the centre of midfield.

Problems for Lippi remain, the Antonio Cassano question will not go away. When asked after the match if the team needed a fantasista he replied, "We have our own fantasista in goal, his name is Gigi Buffon. A great goalkeeper like him does nothing for an hour and then comes up with a decisive intervention."

This is all well and good, having a top-class ‘keeper is essential in the modern game but for me and pretty much every other Nazionale supporter, Cassano is a must have in the team, going on his performances of the previous year. One other addition could be his partner in crime, Giampaolo Pazzini, who has been unable to stop scoring since his move to Sampdoria in January.

After the indifferent performance against the Georgians, he also went on to say Italy will be a much stronger team come the World Cup in 2010, “We have always been a national team built for tournaments. Now we are focusing on getting to there, but wait until the World Cup, as in those 30-40 days it will all be different.”

Things that appear different are actually the same, Italy have all the same problems they did at the Confederations Cup and Lippi does not want to remedy them. The lack of firepower is apparent with alternatives in Serie A begging for a chance, the possibility of Amauri being given an Azzurri chance seems more and more likely, with the Brazilian commenting, "I hope to be in South Africa. If the call comes, I would be honoured to wear the Azzurri shirt." But with issues over his passport application it should only be a matter of time till he puts on the blue of Italy.

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