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The Italy squad celebrate a 2-0 victory following the Euro 2016 group E football match between Belgium and Italy at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Lyon on June 13, 2016. / AFP / jeff pachoud        (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)

Gli Azzurri showed us a vintage display as to why the Italians are one of the strongest countries in the world. Tonight’s display vs Belgium was a statement Italy needed to make. Coming into this tournament, the selections were heavily criticized but the group pulled together and managed to pull off a huge win. The players selected to play today showed the heart the national team has been missing in the past years. They played like they wanted to win. Blocked shots, broken up counters and gritty defending were the key points to this victory, but the most important was finishing the chances they created.

90 minutes of world class football was played by Italy, who was able to stun one of the strongest teams in the world. Belgium’s attack has been phenomenal, until they entered their first game in the Euro 2016 tournament. Not even the strongest of players; Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku, and Nainggolan could figure out a way to create space and chances on goal against the well organized and patient defense.

 

Eder starts

Many ask why… Why would you start Eder against Belgium? He scored one goal since his switch to Inter and there’s other options on the bench.

Eder was able to annoy the Belgium back line and make their lives difficult. Conte see’s it, just as Mancini does. His movement created space for countless attacks whether he got the ball or not. He basically played like an attacking mid behind Pelle.

His distribution was top notch. Eder was able to check to the ball, and slot Candreva through time after time which gave Italy the push it needed to keep Belgium guessing. Pelle was given golden opportunities because of this. given his height and physical presence in the box.

He was also gifted a chance through with a well timed run between the Belgium Back line from a beautifully played long ball by Pirlo  Bonucci.

 

Attacking Variety

Italy did was not short of chances in tonight’s victory. They attacked from all angles, but they were very effective on the wings, specifically through Candreva, who time and time again delivered dangerous balls into the box.

Then of course, Bonucci was able to get Giaccherini through for a goal and Eder for a half chance, still significant to their attack.

Whilst their countering was strong in the second half, Immobile was able to burst through with purpose to force a difficult save by Courtois and then eventually create the second goal to put the game to rest.

Drawbacks

While very few, still evident.

  • Possession was cheaply given away too often in the attacking third. Whether it was Giaccherini (who lost the ball easily way too often for my liking), or Eder, Candreva, Pelle… etc. It held them back and led to a few counters which could have been bad for the Italy Defense.
  • Failed to capitalize on clear chances. (Pelle to be more specific)
  • Yellow Card Accumulation could come back to haunt them seeing as Chiellini, Eder, Bonucci, and Motta have all been booked, this will only be a problem if Italy revert back to their post 2006 ways.

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