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The Final: Spain v Italy

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    #26
    The Final: Spain v Italy

    International football in the 1970s was a cake walk. Most of the smaller countries' FAs were dirt poor and an organisational shambles. Qualification was a stroll in the park. You just had to keep your shit together for one or two big games at a finals tournament and suddenly you were in a major final.

    Today's football is much more competitive - which is also why Spain are so boring.

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      #27
      The Final: Spain v Italy

      Flynnie wrote:

      I'm supporting the team with the cojones to actually play strikers.

      I hope Italy play 3 at the back again, that would cement me wanting Italy to win.
      Yes, I have become strangely fixated on and pleased by Italy's flirtation with three at the back in parts of the tournament too. The chance to discuss if they'll use it tonight was really the reason for starting this thread.

      I hope they do, for tactics wonk reasons as much as because I think it will give them the better chance of winning.

      I love the way Prandelli is altering his tactics, formation and personnel as the games progress too. After a few years of not really focussing on Serie A, he, this group of players and Conte's work with Juve are reawakening my interest.

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        #28
        The Final: Spain v Italy

        Bryaniek wrote: International football in the 1970s was a cake walk. Most of the smaller countries' FAs were dirt poor and an organisational shambles. Qualification was a stroll in the park.
        Nobody seemed to inform England about this.

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          #29
          The Final: Spain v Italy

          Case in point is Italy in 1970.

          They came out of a qualification group of three. The other teams were East Germany and Wales.

          At the World Cup they were in a group with Sweden, Uruguay and Israel. They beat Sweden 1-0 and drew 0-0 with the other two.

          On the back of this incredible performance, suddenly they are in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, where they batter a very poor Mexican side 4-1.

          After playing all these titans of world football, they earn their place in the semi-final, where they play West Germany. They pull a decent performance out of their hole and win 4-3 in extra time.

          Then they eventually get found out by Brazil in the final.

          One great performance against only one great team got them all the way to the final.

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            #30
            The Final: Spain v Italy

            Yeah, Italy-Germany 1970 was an exciting scoreline but if it were played today everyone would be talking about the comedy defending, players strolling around, etc. I think the rose-colored glasses are on, and that the modern game is much more competitive.

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              #31
              The Final: Spain v Italy

              I hope the Wing Commmander's watching the final (although I expect Seppings has told him it's a consolation match).

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                #32
                The Final: Spain v Italy

                The Italian media seem to be suggesting the same formation (with Abate in for Balzaretti) as in the SF. Given the relative lack of width in both sides, the battles between the full backs or which of Cassano or Iniesta perhaps can get wide and do the most damage should be important.

                If it was Barcelona with Messi and Silva, Italy's potential narrowness would worry me more, but it's not so I am hopeful Prandelli knows what he is doing. Though four marking none is a problem and I'd be very tempted to go 3-5-2.

                But, perhaps there isn't really the same imperative to change how you (Prandelli) want to play vs this Spain (and this Italy) as there would be with Barcelona?

                Prandelli's Italy have played Spain twice in the last year, playing essentially 4-1-2-1-2 (Motta deeper than De Rossi and Pirlo, Montolivo behind Rossi and Cassano)albeit in a friendly in Bari, won just about 2-1 by Italy. Torres played up front for Spain who played 4-2-3-1. And the 1-1 the other week, with 3-5-2.

                Perhaps Del Bosque will spring a surprise and play Torres or a.n.other up top? Or Prandelli will go 3-5-2? I think the point about Italy being ale and hopefully willing to change mid game if needs be is an import one.

                We'll soon see. Can't wait

                Some of the very great Italian players of all time were in the 1970 side. Riva, Facchetti, Mazzola and Rivera (usually given a half each) by Valcareggi in the tournament, plus Dalliance's fave Boninsegna and other well regarded ones like Rosato and Burgnich.

                One of the great joys (and frustrations) of watching Italy in major tournaments is watching how they grow and/or explode into life) as well as stumble, stagnate and disappoint at times too.

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                  #33
                  The Final: Spain v Italy

                  They were undoubtedly great players - skill in football is timeless - they just didn't have to put up with as much harassment and had considerably more time and space to do what they did. That's how it looks to me anyway.

                  I do miss the heavier ball, and I actually like slower paced football better (when it's skillful).

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                    #34
                    The Final: Spain v Italy

                    If we see the Spain that played the way they did at the end of the semi-final against Portugal, then this could be a very enjoyable final. Italy seem resilient in defence, and Pirlo makes switching defence into attack look so easy.
                    I do wonder if Spain's tendency to play without a striker might allow them to close the space that Pirlo seemed to find so readily against Germany and England.

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                      #35
                      The Final: Spain v Italy

                      Italy gave Spain a good game for 60 minutes, picking their pocket very well for the goal, and then just about held on for the rest. If they can extend that to 90 minutes, assuming Spain don't find another gear they can expect to beat them. Trouble is these things are utterly unpredictable...

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                        #36
                        The Final: Spain v Italy

                        dalliance wrote: If there was a zenith in the international game then for me it was 1970. I can't think of another tournament when there were so many nations boasting squads that were right up there among the best in their respective histories.

                        Brazil, England, West Germany, Uruguay, Soviet Union and Italy were all world class. Peru, Mexico and Rumania were excellent sides too.
                        The Mexicans were rubbish in 1970, even with the two considerable advantages of the referees giving everything to them on a plate and the weather burning most of the opposition alive. The only player on that team who is remembered with any real affection in Mexico is Enrique Borja.

                        WSC published a good article years ago about how the 1970 England team was distinctly overrated.
                        http://www.wsc.co.uk/the-archive/963-Football-myths/3717-england-1970-better-than-66

                        Bryaniek wrote: Case in point is Italy in 1970.

                        They came out of a qualification group of three. The other teams were East Germany and Wales.

                        At the World Cup they were in a group with Sweden, Uruguay and Israel. They beat Sweden 1-0 and drew 0-0 with the other two.

                        On the back of this incredible performance, suddenly they are in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, where they batter a very poor Mexican side 4-1.

                        After playing all these titans of world football, they earn their place in the semi-final, where they play West Germany. They pull a decent performance out of their hole and win 4-3 in extra time.

                        Then they eventually get found out by Brazil in the final.

                        One great performance against only one great team got them all the way to the final.
                        East Germany, Sweden and Uruguay were all tough opponents in those days. The DDR was a dreadful place to have to visit looking for a win, Sweden had three or four excellent players, and Uruguay (who combined skill with horrific filth and were extremely hard to play against) ended up finishing third in the entire tournament.

                        Glancing for even five seconds at the identities of the people who were in Italy's 1970 team is enough to sweep away the mental idea that they were a side of bluffers who got lucky. They had at least seven of the best footballers in Europe in their line-up.

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                          #37
                          The Final: Spain v Italy

                          Mario makes NY Times front Sports Page today.

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                            #38
                            The Final: Spain v Italy

                            Going to be missing this live--going on a group bike ride instead. Avoiding the internet until I get to watch the game.

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                              #39
                              The Final: Spain v Italy

                              What's your mobile number? We can text you updates...

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                                #40
                                The Final: Spain v Italy

                                Prandelli telling the press he's not returning to a back three;

                                "In all honesty, no, I haven't considered it. We maintained a certain balance over the last few games, although we understood that during the match we can switch to a 3-5-2 if we want to. The team that opened the tournament had a different approach, but over time we found fitness and the balance we had been looking for, so rediscovered the certainty we had lost before the competition."

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                                  #41
                                  The Final: Spain v Italy

                                  See y'all later.

                                  Buona Fortuna, and Buena Suerte to both teams.

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                                    #42
                                    The Final: Spain v Italy

                                    Gianluca is looking particularly well turned out tonight, even by his extremely high standards. I think the tie is beautiful.

                                    Oh, and fair play to Lineker; "I love the UEFA stats, as I have terrible trouble getting to sleep at night" wasn't too bad.

                                    Italy to win.

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                                      #43
                                      The Final: Spain v Italy

                                      Teams from the Guardian;

                                      Italy replace Federico Balzaretti with Ignazio Abate: Buffon, Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo, De Rossi, Balotelli, Cassano.

                                      Subs: Sirigu, Maggio, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Balzaretti, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

                                      Still no striker for Spain, they simply don't care what you think, and as reigning world and European champions, you can hardly blame them: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta.

                                      Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina
                                      .

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                                        #44
                                        The Final: Spain v Italy

                                        Lineker struggles to sleep at night because he hasa amassed his fortune via snack foods, licence fees and Murdoch's dirty money.

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                                          #45
                                          The Final: Spain v Italy

                                          Iniesta is 6 for Spain and Xavi is 8, but for Barcelona, Xavi is 6 and Iniesta 8.

                                          Could this be their secret?

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                                            #46
                                            The Final: Spain v Italy

                                            How does Lineker earn money from Murdoch? He's "written" for the Mail and Telegraph, no? Or is it some foreign broadcasting gig?

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                                              #47
                                              The Final: Spain v Italy

                                              Sean of the Shed wrote: Lineker struggles to sleep at night because he hasa amassed his fortune via snack foods, licence fees and Murdoch's dirty money.
                                              I'm not saying he's a beacon of moral decision making, just that he made an unusually half-decent gag.

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                                                #48
                                                The Final: Spain v Italy

                                                Double post.

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                                                  #49
                                                  The Final: Spain v Italy

                                                  Does Vialli have a full time job now? I know he doesn't need one but he'd be a great addition to any sensible broadcaster's panel.

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                                                    #50
                                                    The Final: Spain v Italy

                                                    Beltrano Carpinteiro wrote: How does Lineker earn money from Murdoch? He's "written" for the Mail and Telegraph, no? Or is it some foreign broadcasting gig?
                                                    He wrote for the NOTW right up to it's demise, and was very reticent about condemning their journalistic practice.

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