Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: World of Football Articles

  1. #1
    Ziyad's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Mar 04
    Posts
    11,468
    Thanked
    1,840 times

    Bahrain

    Forum Supporter 10 years of FIF

    World of Football Articles

    I thought we should have a thread in which we post and discuss different articles that dont go under a certain category.Its summer time,we have lots of time...Please post the interesting articles you read here.

    Here goes...
    The Joy of Six: Great finishers

    From Gerd Müller to Romario, we celebrate the pick of a supposedly dying breed
    Romario celebrates scoring for Brazil against Cameroon at the 1994 World Cup. It's one of the disputed 1,000 or so that he has scored. Photograph: Tony Marshall/Empics

    NB: this list does not purport to be definitive. It lists some of the best, not the best. Please bear this in mind before you leave comments about the inexplicable exclusion of Jimmy Greaves/fat Ronaldo/thin Ronaldo/Jason Lee

    1. Gerd Müller



    Great goalscorers tend to specialise in ugly goals. The greatest goalscorer of them all, Gerd Müller, dealt in goals that were Elephant Man-ugly – and they were the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. His body would splay into Twister positions before he struck the ball at goal; he would often scuff it almost apologetically past the goalkeeper and watch it dribble over the line; he would appear out of nowhere, as if from a puff of dust, to smuggle the ball in from a couple of centimetres; sometimes he would score while on all fours, or hopelessly off balance. To do it once might be seen as a fluke; to do it 438 times at club level and a further 68 for West Germany – in just 62 games – brooked no argument. In his field, he was as far ahead of the rest as Don Bradman.
    Müller was also a preposterous hero. He had a huge backside and looked hideously unnatural, but he more than any other footballer in history was blessed with a supernatural awareness of where to run, when to run there, and how to get the ball past the keeper. He could have been a case for Mulder and Scully. His signature goal, the winner in the 1974 World Cup final was textbook Müller: ostensibly ungainly but devastatingly effective. He hardly ever hit the side-netting; he didn't need to, because something told him that this man was running here and that the keeper had put his weight on that foot, so if he just squirted it past him on that side it would go in. It was eerie. He was also impossibly cool; when he retired, for example, he embraced the good things in life and grew a beard that made him look like Richie Tenenbaum. In front of goal, he would always find the needle in the hay.
    If you can be bothered to find it, there is a near-perfect essay on Müller by David Winner in the June 2008 edition of FourFourTwo

    2. Romario

    It is often said that, when a striker is through one-on-one, big, onrushing goalkeepers can be an overwhelmingly intimidating sight. Romario inverted that thrillingly. He was only 5ft 6in, but never has there been a scarier prospect for goalkeepers in one-on-one situations. He was not just content to score; he wanted not only to vaccinate an opponent, but to find fresh and ingenious ways to do so. To Romario, one-on-ones were both a fascinating puzzle and – to use the parlance of our time – a pissing contest. He could scoop, lob or chip. He could toe-poke it in. He could nutmeg the keeper, as he did Peter Schmeichel at Old Trafford in 1994. His favourite trick was to dance cockily, effortlessly round the keeper; sometimes he would do that and then do it again. All this might seem like an unacceptable indulgence, but Romario's love of scoring was too great for him to ever jeopardise it, and he only experimented within the limitations of his talent. Luckily for him, there were no limitations.

    3. Franz Beckenbauer

    You heard: Franz Beckenbauer. We know he was mostly a libero, but could have been – and briefly was – an outstanding goalscoring midfielder. Beckenbauer scored seven goals in his first 13 appearances for West Germany and then another seven in his final 90. He was ice-cool. So ice-cool that, when his side were 1-0 down in the World Cup final of 1974 and he was the only man defending against Johan Cruyff and Johnny Rep, he ran gently along in front of them like a man leading a morning jog (this is the greatest piece of defending ever by the way, for reasons we don't have time to explain here).
    He showed that same coolness in front of goal. Having got past defences by, to use Scott Murray's delicious description, not so much evading challenges as ignoring them, he would either go round the goalkeeper or just pass it into the net. He made it look like the simplest, most logical thing in the world. And it was; take a look at his goals in the 1966 World Cup by clicking here and here. Soon after Beckenbauer began to explore a new position, and showed that, even if it ain't broke, sometimes it pays to fix it. As a midfielder, Beckenbauer had few peers; as a sweeper, he had none.

    4. Gabriel Batistuta

    "He hit it," wrote Sir Alex Ferguson of one particularly vicious Alan Shearer finish against Poland in 1996, "as if he wanted to kill it." But when it comes to striking the ball with murderous intent, there is nobody to match Gabriel Batistuta, whose 'angel' sobriquet could not have been more inappropriate. If most finishers' highlights deserve to be soundtracked by a swaggering melody or some pulsing hip-hop, it is apt that this clip of Batistuta's winner against Arsenal in 1999, possibly the most emphatic goal ever scored, plays to a background of something resembling death metal. His career was one long, screeching assault on the senses of opposing fans and especially goalkeepers.
    In one-on-one situations Batistuta was very good at flipping the ball over the keeper, but generally he had no time for niceties; he was gloriously, almost ridiculously direct. It was as if, each time he took possession, he had a time limit of three or four seconds to score, so had to get from A to B via the fastest possible route. Invariably, that meant loading the cannon that was his right foot.

    5. Ian Wright



    Society tediously attempts to demand that we belong in only one of two categories. Blur or Oasis. Pepsi or Coke. Boy or girl. And in football, it is generally accepted that you are either a scorer of great goals or a great goalscorer. Ian Wright was emphatically both. He scored a remarkable number of goals from outside the box, particularly with the sort of imaginative chips and lobs that would have prompted all sorts of eulogies had they not been scored by an Englishman. Not that he was averse to bread and butter goals, but he frequently infused them with a striking flavour: this goal against Newcastle is a personal favourite. He had excellent disguise, the ability to Abracadabra a goal, and frighteningly quick feet in tight areas. Chuck in the rabid desire of the late bloomer and the coiled menace of the archetypal streetfighter and you have to wonder why he didn't reach double figures for England.

    6. Josef Bican

    We don't know much about Bican, except that he played for Austria's Wunderteam and then the Czech Republic; and unlike Pele and Romario, his official tally didn't include goals he scored in the back garden with his kids, or in his dreams while he had an afternoon nap. Even without those he was the most prolific goalscorer in the game's history. Just look at these numbers.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog...reat-finishers
    Ziyad Of Boston

  2. #2
    brehme1989's Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Jan 05
    Posts
    8,485
    Thanked
    545 times

    Greece

    10 years of FIF
    Nice read

  3. #3
    Handoyo's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Mar 04
    Posts
    24,677
    Thanked
    5,701 times

    Indonesia

    32 Forum Supporter 10 years of FIF Most Important Member
    Gabriel Batistuta

    Even if I didn't understand football that much when he was in his prime, I was still at awe at how good of a striker he was. Until this day, he remains the player I wish had been younger the most. Whether it is so he can play for Inter, or simply so I can watch him.

  4. #4
    brehme1989's Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Jan 05
    Posts
    8,485
    Thanked
    545 times

    Greece

    10 years of FIF
    Imagine a Romario-Batistuta attack at an team. Guaranteed 3 goals per game no matter how good opposition or teammates would be!

    And then people say that great players exist today as well Football is dead without players that take your breath away

  5. #5
    Ziyad's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Mar 04
    Posts
    11,468
    Thanked
    1,840 times

    Bahrain

    Forum Supporter 10 years of FIF
    I loved Batistuta...One of the best i have ever seen.I also like the way they described Romario in the article.What suprised me though that they didnt mention Lineker ahead of Ian Wright or even Rush???

    Also having Beckenbaur,as great as he was a player,here as an attaker raises questions.I mean would he make it ahead of Van Basten,Vieri,Raul(his early days were stunning),ronaldo (as much i hate him) and the rest of the names we know and love??
    Ziyad Of Boston

  6. #6
    Suneet's Avatar
    Join Date
    13 Sep 06
    Posts
    16,285
    Thanked
    2,060 times
    Fav. Player
    # 3

    India

    Forum Supporter
    The best front pairing for me ever will be Zidane as the trequarterista and Fatnaldo ahead of him, in his Inter glory days. :ew:


    Everything a man should be. We miss you Cipe.




  7. #7
    Ziyad's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Mar 04
    Posts
    11,468
    Thanked
    1,840 times

    Bahrain

    Forum Supporter 10 years of FIF
    Quote Originally Posted by Suneet View Post
    The best front pairing for me ever will be Zidane as the trequarterista and Fatnaldo ahead of him, in his Inter glory days. :ew:
    They had that at Real,didnt achieve much..Ronaldo and Batistuta now that would be something.
    Ziyad Of Boston

  8. #8
    Suneet's Avatar
    Join Date
    13 Sep 06
    Posts
    16,285
    Thanked
    2,060 times
    Fav. Player
    # 3

    India

    Forum Supporter
    Ronaldo had turned to Mcburgeraldo then.

    Zizou with Ronaldo and Henry in attack. That would have been a sight. I had them all together in Fifa 2002.


    Everything a man should be. We miss you Cipe.




  9. #9
    Ziyad's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Mar 04
    Posts
    11,468
    Thanked
    1,840 times

    Bahrain

    Forum Supporter 10 years of FIF
    Calcio Debate: Why Serie A 2009-10 Could Be A Special Season

    Goal.com's Subhankar Mondal welcomes the new Serie A season and explains why the 2009-10 campaign could be very special.....

    20 Aug 2009 08:30:39







    First a recap of last season.


    Inter's Jose Mourinho 'bored' his way to another championship in his career and Juventus' Claudio Ranieri at times almost beat him at his own game. Milan desperately tried not to finish third but eventually did so, Genoa did their best to finish fourth but ended up fifth.

    Roma were depressingly short of fit players, Milan were overwhelmed with the old and Inter were maddeningly starved of creative midfielders. Napoli looked like a Champions League team in the first half of the season and struggled to stave off relegation in the second and Antonio Cassano inspired a first half relegation candidate Sampdoria to a 13th place finish in the end.

    Paolo Maldini retired and so did Luis Figo. And so did Pavel Nedved. Mourinho called Ranieri "too old to change his mentality" and Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis exposed that English "women do not wash their genitalia". Roma fans once again stormed Trigoria, Zlatan Ibrahimovic stormed Serie A and Diego Milito stormed opponents' goals. And so did Marco Di Vaio, for a side that finished one place above the relegation zone.

    If that was interesting, then what 2009-2010 has to offer would be doubly so, especially in the title race.

    Title Race

    Especially in the title race. Juventus couldn't recover from the Calciopoli scandal until now and Inter haven't really felt threatened of losing their new found perch until now. Summer signings Diego, Felipe Melo and Fabio Cannavaro combined with the first full season of coach Ciro Ferrara and his pledge to play Barcelona-esque football have strengthened a squad that didn't lack so much as quality as tactical awareness, stability and consistency.



    What Will Eto'o Add To The Serie A?


    Inter might have added Samuel Eto'o, Thiago Motta, Lucio and Diego Milito but the absence of a playmaker augmented by the departure of their best player for three seasons, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, mean the Nerazzurri would have to restructure their strategy.

    And who knows what Milan might conjure up? Klaas-Jan Huntelaar guarantees goals if given the service, Alexandre Pato can only improve on his 15 league goals last season and although Leonardo's perhaps over-reliance on a past-his-prime Ronaldinho is a gamble, maybe this being a World Cup year Ronnie could rediscover a fraction of his Barcelona magic.

    As for the other teams, well, 'impossible is nothing' but a Scudetto triumph is unlikely.

    Finishing Fourth And Conquering Europe

    What is probable, though, is at least seven teams fighting for the fourth spot. As Goal.com's Italian football editor Carlo Garganese persistently insists almost to the point of obsession, quality in the Serie A is spread very thinly across the 20 teams. Which is why Roma could finish only sixth last season and why Genoa, Napoli, Lazio and Palermo might like a crack at that 'Florentined' fourth spot.

    But this is as much a boon as a bane. While the spread of quality implies the depth in the Serie A, it is also a reason why Italian clubs have not been very successful in Europe in recent seasons. And until an Italian side wins the Champions League and wins it with some style or at least reaches the semi-finals, Serie A will never get the recognition it deserves.

    Which is why the onus will be on Inter, Juventus and Milan. And if 2009-10 turns out to be another disappointing campaign for Italian clubs in the Champions League and the Europa League, then the fans won't be happy.

    The Tifosi

    Oh yes, the fans. For an outsider or non-Italian like this columnist, the tifosi in Italy can be mystifying at times. Italian football fans don't think twice before invading their club's training ground or throwing oranges and what not at club coaches, and while this might superficially seem very ugly, it also has a dark and perhaps fatal attraction attached to it, like the gaze of a snake.

    True, the chants by certain fans and behaviour of others demonstrate that Calcio is not clean yet, but perhaps behind the violence that Italian football has yet to cope with lies a strange and unbreakable bond between the fans and their clubs, a bond that has not been diluted by foreign ownership or shameless selling of the soul, a bond that reflects the unbridled passion and unalloyed love the nation retains for football.



    Italian Football Fans Are A Different Lot


    The Rest Of The Package

    Strange as it may seem, perhaps it is through such 'ugly' incidents and not through what can be flat atmospheres in stadiums that one truly appreciates and understands Calcio and realizes that it is unique.

    Calcio can be ugly, it can be violent and at times the rigidity of tactics and the slow pace can make it seem boring but it is intellectually pleasing, has its own place in football, is known for its subtle skills and cannot be undermined.

    Then there's the media headed by the pink paper, La Gazzetta dello Sport that is the largest selling newspaper in Italy in spite of being a sports-only paper in which the majority of news is football. The Machiavellian politics and dark underlying forces in the game add to the enigmatic character of Calcio and recent talks of AS Roma and Bari takeovers have imported more 'openness' to the game in Italy.

    Add to that Mourinho forcing Marcelo Lippi to apologize, Walter Zenga's conviction of overhauling Inter at the top and De Laurentiis making this columnist wary of all English women, and Calcio becomes as much spicy as beautiful.

    Subhankar Mondal, Goal.com
    ============================================
    Nice article from this guy..He only covered a few of the points but i liked it.I would add the derbies that actually fantastic to watch even if you are not a fan of either side participating.Added to that some of the new exciting blood in SerieA...
    Ziyad Of Boston

  10. #10
    Ziyad's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Mar 04
    Posts
    11,468
    Thanked
    1,840 times

    Bahrain

    Forum Supporter 10 years of FIF
    From Goal.com,nice read to warm us up for the derby...I thought i would keep it here as reference in the future as well.
    ================================================
    Top 10 Players Who Starred For Milan & Inter

    Ahead of this weekend's Derby della Madonnina, Goal.com looks at 10 players who crossed the Milan divide...

    25 Aug 2009 12:30:40


    10) Francesco Coco



    Before he packed it all in to concentrate on his career as a cigarette smoker, party animal, clothing manufacturer and wannabe movie star, Francesco Coco was tipped to become the next Paolo Maldini and had stints at both Milan and Inter.
    It's Inter who he blames partly for his demise as the next great Italian left-back. Coco has stated that the Nerazzurri made a mistake by letting him undergo back surgery in November 2003. He is still waiting for that call from Steven Spielberg.
    9) Christian Brocchi
    After graduating from the youth system at Milan in 1994, one of the most likeable nearly-men of Italian football didn’t actually get to play for the club until 2001. At that point, he returned to the red and black side of the San Siro as part of the swap deal which saw Argentine midfielder Andrés Guglielminpietro go the other way
    While he has finally found his feet as a regular at Lazio, the Milan links remain. He also owns a cafe in the city with Christian Abbiati.

    8) Edgar Davids
    For a player who graced the modern game so successfully, Edgar Davids didn’t have a very happy time in Milan.
    In 1996, the bulldog-like Ajax everywhere man moved to Milan and then spent most of the season sitting on the bench wondering where it all went wrong.
    Then, after hitting the heights as Marcello Lippi’s “one-man engine room” at Juventus, the dreadlocked Dutchman spent another season sitting on the San Siro bench with Inter, before collecting his pension at Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane.
    7) Aldo Serena
    Few players have ever moved around with quite the same enthusiasm as Aldo Serena. During his largely illustrious career, the striker moved to Inter no less than four times and Milan twice.
    At Inter he hit his peak in 1989 when his 22 goals were instrumental in the Nerazzurri's lifting of the Scudetto and saw him finish the season as capocannonieri. Still, his dalliances with their fierce rivals meant that he was jeered by the club's Ultras during recent Scudetto celebrations.
    6) Fulvio Collovati
    Even though Fulvio Collovati came through the Milan youth system and made 158 appearances for the Rossoneri, the club tested his loyalty to breaking point.
    When, in 1980, Milan were infamously relegated to Serie B following a betting scandal, Collovati was one of the few players to stay at the club. But after climbing their way back to the top flight, Milan were subsequently relegated again, this time on purely footballing grounds, and the soon-to-be World Cup winner signed for Inter instead.

    5) Roberto Baggio

    Everyone knows that Roberto Baggio became the best player in the world when he was at Juventus, yet he did have two reasonably successful seasons with Milan and two highly fractious ones under the tutelage of Marcello Lippi at Inter. After five stunning years with La Vecchia Signora, it took all the persuasive powers of Silvio Berlusconi to bring Baggio to the San Siro and the move paid off, as the Divine Ponytail's performances helped the club to lift the title in 1996.
    4) Clarence Seedorf
    Maybe only a player as universally liked and admired as the trophy-collecting Dutch midfielder could move directly from Inter to Milan and get away with it.
    After four massively successful seasons with Real Madrid, Seedorf was already an international superstar by the time he was sold to Inter for £14 million at the turn of the century.
    Two barren years with the Nerazzurri have been followed by seven seasons with the Rossoneri, during which he has won two UEFA Champions Leagues, one Scudetto, one FIFA World Club Cup and two UEFA Super Cups.
    3) Ronaldo
    The buck-toothed Brazilian is the only player in history who has scored for both clubs in the Milan derby. Ronaldo found the target for Inter in the 1998-99 season and then for Milan during his injury-plagued stint at the club following his transfer from Real Madrid in 2007.
    Despite rupturing the tendon in his right knee not once but twice, Ronaldo remains an Inter legend with 49 goals in 68 games and a hatful of truly remarkable performances.
    2) Andrea Pirlo
    The ‘Metronomo’ has been established as the principal playmaker in front of the Milan back four for so long that it’s almost impossible to comprehend that he once belonged to Inter
    In truth, Pirlo and Inter never really got on, with successive coaches leaving the little genius on the bench or loaning him out, before he signed a deal with Milan in 2001 and became a lynchpin for club and country and one of the most unique and under-rated footballers on the planet.

    1) Giuseppe Meazza
    When he was playing football in bare feet on the back streets on Milan, the young Meazza supported the city team in the red and black stripes.
    However, the kid who would go onto become the first superstar of the Italian game was rejected by his beloved Rossoneri for being too skinny and went on to score a staggering 247 goals in 348 appearances for Inter instead. After thirteen glorious years, Meazza transferred to the club he had so adored as a boy and, of course, lent his name to the stadium both clubs now share.

    Gil Gillespie, Goal.com
    Ziyad Of Boston

  11. #11
    Handoyo's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Mar 04
    Posts
    24,677
    Thanked
    5,701 times

    Indonesia

    32 Forum Supporter 10 years of FIF Most Important Member
    ANDREA PIRLO AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Most under-rated footballer my fucking arse. Those jerk-offs have been wanking off Pirlo for a decade already.

  12. #12
    Ziyad's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Mar 04
    Posts
    11,468
    Thanked
    1,840 times

    Bahrain

    Forum Supporter 10 years of FIF
    Tuesday 29 September, 2009Blog: The Possessed James Horncastle finds out what possession football tells us about the three Italian teams in the Champions League
    Last week, UEFA published a short but very revealing report detailing just how long each team kept the ball for in the opening 16 games of the Champions League group stages. Now, before I reveal the all-important results, let’s be clear on one thing. Ball possession is a relative indicator of how well a team performs. It is not definitive.

    The longer a team hangs on to the ball does not necessarily translate into victory, for at the end of the day football results are decided by goals, which can be scored with one touch or several. Nevertheless, one of football’s oldest adages claims that ball possession is actually nine tenths of the game and it would be foolish not to pay it any heed.

    In Week 1, the competition’s four Spanish teams, perhaps unsurprisingly, proved to be the best at possession football. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla and Atlético hung on to the ball for a total of 166 minutes. That’s almost the entire duration of two games.

    Now, let’s contrast that with Italy’s four representatives. Between them, Milan, Inter, Juventus and Fiorentina held on to the ball for just 100 minutes, that’s over an hour less than the Spanish.

    The colossal difference makes even more of an impact if you look at it in a slightly different way. Teams from La Liga got 66 minutes more to carve out a goal than teams from Serie A, precisely because of their ability to keep possession.

    Those of you looking for comfort might point to the opposition Spanish teams faced. Atlético and Sevilla played host to APOEL and Urziceni, while Real Madrid and their Galácticos travelled to Switzerland where they crushed Zurich 5-2.

    But what would you say if I told you that even Zurich managed to keep the ball for longer than Italy’s best representatives. The Swiss held on to it for a respectable 33 minutes against Real. That’s six minutes more than Juventus and Milan could muster against Bordeaux and Marseille respectively.

    Every team from Spain, England, Germany and France demonstrated their ability to keep the ball for 30 minutes or more. Not one from Italy could do the same, leaving Serie A’s finest in the far from distinguished company of Rubin Kazan, Debrecen, Standard Liege and Urziceni.

    Now, as I pointed out above, possession is not the be all and end all in football. Only two of the Spanish teams won in Week 1, while the Premier League’s four standard bearers carried home maximum points despite having around half an hour less of the ball than their Iberian counterparts.

    But its importance both in terms of defending and attacking cannot be underestimated. Italy’s teams would do well to bear that in mind this week, especially if they want to stave off teams from the Bundesliga who are gradually catching them in the UEFA co-efficient rankings and putting Serie A’s fourth and final Champions League place in serious jeopardy.
    Ziyad Of Boston

  13. #13
    rfU's Avatar
    Join Date
    30 Jul 09
    Posts
    2,655
    Thanked
    560 times
    Fav. Player
    JZ4



    thanks for the article Ziyad

  14. #14
    Ziyad's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Mar 04
    Posts
    11,468
    Thanked
    1,840 times

    Bahrain

    Forum Supporter 10 years of FIF
    Quote Originally Posted by rfU View Post
    thanks for the article Ziyad


    Seems with the game last night this couldnt have been more appropriate.Wish Mou read it though before the game....
    Ziyad Of Boston

  15. #15
    Ziyad's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Mar 04
    Posts
    11,468
    Thanked
    1,840 times

    Bahrain

    Forum Supporter 10 years of FIF
    I just love this article way too much..Lippi

    Calcio Debate: Welcome To Marcello Lippi’s Masonic Lodge – Cassano & Miccoli Not Welcome

    Last night Marcello Lippi named his squad for the final World Cup qualifiers against Ireland and Cyprus. Carlo Garganese hits out at the politics surrounding Lippi’s Azzurri…

    Oct 5, 2009 2:30:24 PM






    Welcome to Marcello Lippi’s world. A world where it doesn’t matter how well or badly you play for your club or country, what your age is, and generally how good you are at football – your Italy future has already been decided.

    The idea of freemasonry is not new to international football – indeed according to some French journalists the only reason France boss Raymond Domenech kept his job after the disastrous Euro 2008 was because he actually was a member of the same Masonic Lodge as French Football Federation President Jean-Pierre Escalettes.

    This may indeed be a load of cobblers – what is certain though is that the current Italy setup under Lippi is almost becoming as political as the regime of zodiac sign-sucker Domenech.

    Italian fans will forever be grateful to Lippi for leading the country to World Cup glory in 2006 – he will remain a legend even if the Azzurri flop in South Africa next summer, just as 1982 World Cup-winning tactician Enzo Bearzot has remained a great after the disaster of 1986.

    But, while Lippi’s long-term hero-status is assured, Italians live for today – and very few are satisfied with the 61-year-old’s second spell at the helm.


    Lippi has become too political

    In simple terms, Lippi has become far too political in his squad choices. The main area of contention is in attack. Are Antonio Di Natale, Fabio Quagliarella, Giuseppe Rossi, Alberto Gilardino, Vincenzo Iaquinta really Italy’s best five forwards?

    The quintet, despite an improved display by the latter pair in the 2-0 win against Bulgaria, have been hugely disappointing nationally this calendar year. Prior to that clash in Turin, it had been four games since an Azzurri forward scored a goal. During this time, Italy only found the back of the net twice – both of them bizarre own goals by Georgia’s Kakha Kaladze.

    In eight qualification games, Italy’s frontmen have only contributed a miserly five goals. It is painfully clear that the attack is not strong enough to help Italy get anywhere close to retaining their World Cup. The creativity, killer instinct and, most importantly, the blend is so very ordinary.


    Cassano - Blackballed

    If Lippi was selecting his attack based on form and talent, then there are three players who just have to be in the squad – Antonio Cassano, Fabrizio Miccoli and Giampaolo Pazzini. Unfortunately, the former two have been blackballed from the Lippi Lodge. Cassano is incompatible with the “group”, while ‘traitor’ Miccoli is excluded for good.

    Meanwhile, Pazzini has found it impossible to become a permanent member despite his stunning start to the season alongside club-mate Cassano. Quite how Quagliarella still merits a place in La Nazionale is a real mystery. The Napoli man has been in atrocious form of late and his infamous inconsistency has now reached the stage where for every good game he has four bad ones. Quagliarella hasn't scored for Italy for 20 months.

    There are far too many life-time members of the lodge, who regardless of age, ability and form will never be kicked out. Milan’s demise this season has been well documented, as has the fact that Rino Gattuso has probably been their worst player in every game he has featured in.


    One of Lippi & Gattuso's many masonic rituals

    Another of Lippi’s 2006 gang Gianluca Zambrotta has had rings run around this term by average opponents, while Nicola Legrottaglie is back to the kind of awful form he exhibited before the religious conversion that suddenly transformed him from a player off the pitch to a player on it.

    The funniest thing of all is the axing of Marco Marchionni. Heads were turned when the Fiorentina man was called up last month for the qualifiers against Georgia and Bulgaria. The 29-year-old even started the first of these two games, and unsurprisingly played poorly.

    What is so strange is that Marchionni’s form for Fiorentina has been much better since the last international window than it was before. By logic, it makes no sense. Surely there is no international incentive because Lippi doesn’t seem to care about your individual performance – it all depends whether you fit into the ‘system’.

    Those who still dream about a Cassano call-up before the World Cup can get their heads out of the clouds. Once qualification for South Africa is sealed Lippi’s new favourite line, in succession to “18-40”, when being asked if Cassano and others have a chance will be: “I must stick with the group of players who got us to South Africa.”

    ... except for Amauri that is, but that’s another story for another day. I won’t even mention the conspiracy theories about why Marchionni got a call last month – that would be unfair on Felipe Melo!

    What are your views on this topic? Is the national team becoming like a Lippi Masonic Lodge? Are Lippi’s choices too political? Goal.com wants to know what YOU think…

    Carlo Garganese, Goal.com
    Ziyad Of Boston

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •