Euro2012 – England vs Italy – Playing Italy
By David, bettingexpert.com | Published
As a manager Hodgson enjoyed, or rather did not, brief unfortunate stints at Inter and Udinese. It seems superfluous to say that he did pick up a few lessons in strategy during his time in Serie A, with his current tactics clearly reflecting on that like a very clean mirror from the past onto the present. He’s playing their own game but can he play them and pip them out of a semifinal place?
England – Italy Odds: Euro 2012
On the right are odds for the match between England and Italy, which will remain visible right until kick off.
England – Italy Preview: Euro 2012
Labeling it frustrating may not even be enough for some but the wait and see approach with almost all men behind the ball can be a strategy that brings success. Hodgosn has actually tried and tested this before in the Premier League with both Fulham and West Bromwich. In the past, right before he took charge at Craven Cottage, he could boast five 0-0 draws in the World Cup qualification campaign with Finland.
A review of teams who have had success in such major tournaments in more recent editions since football gradually evolved to a more tactical, albeit sometimes uglier, game will also evidence the efficacy of such an approach. Italy and Spain were the last two World Cup winners and none made it on top of the World because of their goals but mainly because of their defending. Of course Spain’s defence lies in keeping possession of the ball. However, they are still in the meantime not focusing on scoring as much as they are on possession play. Hence why that also frustrates at times because they do have the ball but are actually not doing anything special other than a quasi-circus stunt sometimes.
England’s game is more like that of Italy in the old days. Four players lined up in defence and another four just in front of them in midfield. Boring sure but if they can then take advantage of some rapid sprints from the likes of Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, the creativity of Rooney, passing precision of Gerrard or a headed goal from a set piece, then they will know it will be difficult for the opposition to get back into the game.
Taking the initiative is not what they are built for so going under will require considerable efforts from this side. They have only had to do it once so far and luckily it was a Swedish side weak in defence they were up against. Should it happen from this point onwards against the likes of Italy and Germany they would meet up with some serious difficulties themselves.
Therefore, for this match we should not expect Hodgson to make any changes to his approach. They will be glad to wait for their chance even if that means taking it to penalties. Yet would Prandelli be happy with that?
Italy have thought Hodgson the art of waiting. They would not be the ones to try and break the balance by giving the English the space they crave on the pitch. I would not be surprised to see them back to a 3-5-2 after being forced into a 4-4-2 in the must-win match against Ireland. This may bring along some changes in personnel as well. What is sure until now is that defensive stalwart Chiellini will be ruled out due to a hamstring injury.
In attack chances are we get to see Manchester City’s striker up against the country which welcomed him after being shooed off by the Serie A. Balotelli’s nervous mindset, however, is looking like going back to its natural levels. He was close to speaking the usual stuff he would later be so glad to act out the typical half apology for in the match against Ireland, just after his goal. Teammate Bonucci was prompt to physically shut his mouth with his hand though. In any case, will he help us understand “why it’s always him” in this match? I think we might be able to get an umpteenth repeat of that. Maybe Italians would stop pampering him and give him the space he needs to grow up alone.
On the attacking front the Three Lions might rethink the use of Carroll in place of Welbeck. Rooney’s first match saw him get delivered loads of high balls to which he often reacted as a player of his type would. He is not the best at receiving those kind of crosses but rather expresses his full potential as a shoulder striker. Hodgson’s tactics sacrifice that position a lot but it does not mean they should throw away those rare chances at goal as Rooney was served against Ukraine. Those kind of misses can cost the game and with just three left if they make it to the final it would be a pity to have created chances and not taken them. Carroll is the only player capable of squeezing out the maximum from those kind of crosses and Hodgson should think twice before benching him again if the strategy is going to be the usual one.
The last time England and Italy met it was in the battle for third place at the 1990 World Cup. Italy were playing at home and eventually won the match 2-1.
England – Italy injury news: Euro 2012
England have had to deal with some injury concerns ahead of their transfer to Eastern Europe and whilst they were there. Somehow Hodgson has still filled in all the gaps. With Rooney back from suspension the manager does seem to have all the players he needs, and can have available, to prepare this match well.
In the Italy camp they will weep the absence of Chiellini though. Yes he is the one who allowed Mandzukic to head into goal that not so impossible cross in the Croatia match. However, he is a true pillar in defence. Barzagli has only recently recovered from his ailments but seemed ok against Ireland. He will be partnering another Juventus defender, Bonucci, against England.
There will be doubts as to who will be the two full-backs after the switch from Maggio and Giaccherini to the duo composed by Abate and Balzaretti. The latter did well enough to deserve a confirmation. Maggio may be drafted in with Abate being benched. It will depend a lot on whether Prandelli goes for a 3-5-2 or the 4-4-2.
England – Italy Betting: Euro 2012
It does look like it is going to be a game played essentially in the same manner by both teams. A lot of patience, waiting for the right chance to sting. Whichever nation grabs the first goal will most likely win. The tactical turmoil that seems to be afflicting Italy should be to the benefit of England, which will also not find defender Chiellini in their way.
Verdict: England 0:0
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