Defending Champions Italy do not look any bit the kings of football they were 4 years ago. Two 1-1 draws against Paraguay and New Zealand in Group F has left the Azzurri camp in sixes and sevens with some players falling short of calling for the removal of coach Marcelo Lippi.
Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio is the latest player to express his unhappiness with Lippi’s formations.
“Here at the World Cup, many players are playing in roles they are not accustomed to,” Marchisio told TuttoSport. “The coach is making a lot of experiements.
“It is all year long that I have been changing roles, but now have become accustomed to it. Changing so much has caused us to get things wrong.
“There is a lot of confusion between us, but the coach has the right experience to get us out of this situation.
“The team might be demoralised because we thought we could overcome the group much easier,”.
Missing key players Pirlo, Gattuso, Grosso, Cassano and Rossi either through exclusion or injury, Italy is a far cry from the champions they were just 4 years ago. The Azzurri were not only favourites to win a 5th title that would place them at par with Brazil, but they were also looking to double on their already existing record of being 1 of the only 2 teams to successfully defend the world title.
Italy won the World Cup back to back in the thirties and Brazil has been the only other nation to match that feat when they won the tournament in 1958 and 1962.
Sideshows like this one and Anelka’s threaten to steal attention from the beautiful game and portray the South African in a bad light. Just in case you did not know, Anelka was sent home after insulting Coach Domenech and his mother during France’s 2-0 loss to Mexico last week.
What is even more ironical is the fact that Anelka’s team-mates backed his actions much to the effect that Les Bleus training sessions on Sunday had to be stopped after Domenech had a burst up with captain Patrice Evra.
Insulting a player or coach for that matter is in no way acceptable and Anelka’s actions just goes to show how immature he is. France play South Africa in their final Group game which they should win convincingly if they are to progress to the second round.
With the Azzurri yet to replicate the form that won them the title 4 years ago, and the favourites failing to leave up to their billing, this World Cup is proving to be a very unpredictable tournament.
Photo credit: from beatsinthebox