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FLORENCE, ITALY – FEBRUARY 21: Italian national team head coach Giampiero Ventura (C) reacts during the training session at the club’s training ground at Coverciano on February 21, 2017 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Italy’s 4-2-4 Shape Was Very Unconvincing

Many including myself applauded Ventura for changing up the shape of the team but, the 4-2-4 formation used this evening may not be in the Azzurri’s best bet going forward. It seemed at times that Italy’s spacing on the pitch was off and it showed throughout the first half as the Italians were very cluttered in the final third. Although the lineup looked exciting on paper, it can be argued that it never really transferred over to the pitch. As early on as the first minute into the match, Italy were caught on the counter-attack and were almost made to pay for it as Albania came inches away from opening the scoring. Whenever one of either De Rossi or Verratti were caught out of position it seemed Ventura’s men were extremely vulnerable when defending in their own half. In addition, it seemed that both Candreva and Insigne were not involved much defensively as this formation calls for them to be higher up the pitch. Candreva has played the right midfield role for Italy in the past, but Insigne on the other hand is a natural attacker. It would be asking a lot for him to contribute defensively given his offensive nature. Ultimately, this formation works if the two central midfielders put in near perfect performances and hardly miss a beat. While De Rossi and Verratti are great players in their own regard, it is unlikely they will be able to control every game and be able to cover all the holes in the midfield created by the 4-2-4.

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