Getting accurate information out of the world press is like getting Iran to talk straight on Nukes...so I have let the injury news simmer for a few days and think we have a general consensus on accuracy...until I hear otherwise!
THE LANDING: all aboard the Azzurri express baby...we're in Germania. Someone please find out where I can get a blazer!!!!!!
Lots of goings on - the clock is tickin, legs are crackin and some are healin. TrueAzzurri is in full mode from here on out. Today's highlights:
Beloved Roberto Baggio, Vice President of Juventus, is being hailed as the choice to repair the image of Juventus should they be forced to fall on their sword and be demoted, the logic goes a drop to Serie B or C should see the installation of Baggio as manager. For he can cleanse the image and soul of the Old Lady as no other Budhist can :). It is a grand thought, to pull a English parallel it would be like Shearer taking over Newcastle if they we relegated (although that would happen for purely sporting reasons!). I like the sentiment, but don't see Baggio as the mercurial manager needed fro Serie A. Taskmasters and Megalomaniacs need only apply, a good reference would be the time Donadoni had at Livorno. He had them in the top 10 and was being questioned by his owner. He walked away, like any master would at being questioned about their art from their financier. I view Baggio in the same light, he should not have to put up with the day to day issues and nuisances managing would pose. Let him heal the Old Lady from the top, restoring good will with his aura and natural personality. Why should he have to share his well earned shine to repair what others treated so shabbily!
Game against the Swiss today was a solid if an unspectacular result. As told by Gazetta...Tridente was marked closely, Totti looked good, which is fine, and Pirlo was locked down. Sounds like it was a little sloppy in the possession game, so we'll see how much we can gel in another week. Try and decipher Gazetta for yourself.
The good...Perotta came on as and played in the second half. The so-so - Gila started up front and scored in the 11th minute. Have not yet seen the highlights so not sure how much work he did, but his scoring sets him in Pole position to start. Not sure if that is what we want....I'm sure Big Toni will get the last start later this week. Hope he gets a couple of good looks in order to secure his place. Highlights coming on at 1o, will update then.
According to this report both Nesta AND Zambrotta are going to be back in time for Ghana. Great news if the story holds:
"...slight knocks sustained by Gianluca Zambrotta and Alessandro Nesta in a training match against San Giminiano will have given him (Lippi) cause for concern.
The two players will be ready for the Azzurri's opener against Ghana, but the short gap between their final two warm-up games - against Switzerland on Wednesday and Ukraine on Friday - could force the Italian tactician to shuffle the pack somewhat against the Swiss."
I highly recommend reading la Gazzetta dello Sport as translated through Google. Comical in that it reads as you would imagine it translated by a local into English. Bottom line though this is the source for all things Soccer in the bootland. Today's big article runs down Lippi's options for the Cup. Here is a double translated version of their views:
Ideal Module - 4-3-1-2 - They want Totti pushed farther forward as an outright attacking forward with one (Del Piero presumably) striker set back to weave in and out of the middle. Would much prefer a 4-3-2-1 as we will see against the Swiss - Totti with the ball at this feat at midfield is more dangerous than him trying to receive the ball in the box.....plus with Big Toni and Gila they need space. Alex and Totti freely roaming will only help the effectiveness of Pirlo playing deep out of the back. He struggles most when left to throw darts from in front of the defense instead of playing as a catalyst to an attack with the ball at our feet. Not much is said about the role of Camo in this lineup....he is his own answer to whether he should play 90 or take a seat. But much depends on the speed of Zambrotta's recovery for that option. One thing we are lacking is pace and accuracy from the wings.....think Milan (ugggh) in the Champions League.
Of Del Piero - they only seem to think he can thrive in 4-3-3 - My only fear is that an in form attacking pair (whoever it may be) does not leave the wee man glued to the pine. he can play a valuable role on either wing in lieu of Camo. De Rossi is a fantastic wildcard for us this year. Dare we say this tournaments Cassano - his pace will be a rare marvel as a bench alternative to a stagnant midfield. He might be the only one wishing for a delayed Totti comeback!
In Da Back - we sleep well until game 3 or 4 when Yellow cards stack up and you're staring and fucking Matterazzi and Nesta in the back with Oddo and Grosso wings saying what the hell is this?!?! Not what we want if a win is required. I digress, in normal circumstances our choices are abundant on the wing (attack or lock down). Unfortunately I am not as convinced of our central depth (see Mata comment above). On a random note...what the hell happened to Ferrari? Loaned from Roma to Everton, recent reports have him HOPING to stay?!?!?!?! The man captained Parma admirably for years...I cursed the screen in Portugal when Mata started ahead of him in game 3...almost killing us (Mata penalty) only to be saved by Antonio and then thrown back out by the damn Scandinavians....frigid cowards all of them! So who will provide an extra punch to our central defense? We will find out.
All in all we will know alot more after the Swiss and the Ukraine's....we have proven all formations can work and we have versatility in all positions...I'll leave the last quote to Lippi..."You will see in field an anomalous tridente..." yes we will...
Is it the language barrier and translation? These interviews always sound like a 4th grader is the doing the reporting. Anyways the news is positive - his ankle feels good, his spirits are high and he doesn't sound like he needs to spit at anyone...In relate news the Tridente is loaded and ready for the Swiss...can anyone tell me why there is any doubt as to Big Toni spearheading the attack vs. Gilardino?!?!?! Pippo was above Gila on Milan's depth chart at the end of the season!