Faded Legacy vs Rejuvenated Pedigree
if this Euro 2016 cup has signaled the outstanding patterns of emerging tactical revolution, re-creating the new blueprint of game-management identity and shaping the masterful basis of notorious coaching perfectionist, then these facts successfully have established and confirmed their impact in modern football. Italy and Iceland are the last two teams to book their place in the quarter-final after their respectively sensational victories on Monday night. England and Spain in contrast suffered from their arguably worst ever experiences in major campaign in relatively different extent and it goes down to their football history without the doubt.
Italian once again masterminded their sheer tactical genius and superb game-winning strategy in this tournament with the 2-0 win against one of the tournament’s favorite, Spain. Antonio Conte fielded relatively the same starting line up that hammered Belgium in the opening game with a minor change as Alessandro Florenzi replaced injured Candreava on the right side and they wonderfully repeated the same success in a very intense and exciting play-off matche. their ultimate commitment, highly sharp and ambitious tactical purpose in defense, crucial balanced and coordinated midfield has lead their way to dictate the pace of play and more importantly their efficient and energetic attacking execution earned them to dismantle Spanish on the night to set the stage for even more prestigious classic battle against Germany in the quarter-final. the shape of three “sublime back three” center backs along with two versatile full-wing backs in apparently 3-5-2 formation significantly proved so vital to their success to deny Spanish the real penetration in the final third and eventually outclassed them in an incredible succession of counter-attack play, forcing Spaniards struggling to find their rhythm the whole night. Iniesta and Silva most often were limited to orchestrate their passing movements duo to back three’s amazing man-marking and effective pressing line, while the likes of Giacherrini and Florenzi offered an outstanding vision off the ball and flexibility to link up quick passes to spark vital change of pace to break Spanish midfield line with their timely off the ball runs and versatility to provide combination plays in a reliance of superb transition’s speed, which exploited both Ramos and Piqued to pace and finishing touch. Italian’s pressing high up the pitch constantly disjointed Spain’s main effort to initiate build-up play from deep positions, which caused so much gap in behind Spanish midfield, mainly aimed to deny crucial spaces at backline, a routine link up runs for short passes to their midfielders, nonetheless the effort failed to deliver according to Italian’s intelligent high pressing shape when Eder, Pelle and Giacherinni closing the central areas with support of full backs pushing higher to mark flanks, while they equally maintained the continuity of its pace in defensive transition as both Darmain and De Ciglio reverting into full backs to join De Rossi pressing deep very close to back three when Iniesta and Silva intended to create movements. Conte’s strategy ultimately targeted two pivotal elements: first; disintegrating Iniesta from orchestrating possession in the heart of Spain’s attack and denying his freedom to dictate the pace of the passing, furthermore; breaking his interchanging play with Silva in largely denying two creative play-makers from offering open spaces to circulate passing with midfield, while both players highly became passive to rotate the line with wide attackers for sparking combinations; it essentially resulted in lacking mobility for Morata up front as Italian’s incredible strategy of transition play and energetic pressing order eventually broken Spain’s shape of midfield and their rhythm of possession, in fact it nearly distinguished the turning point of this game both on considerable level of efficiency and interestingly on spell of possession. it was Italy whom showed eagerness in taking the game to Spain and their first chance came inside the 6th minutes. Florenzi sent a curling free-kick from the right and Graziano pelle glanced a fine header when pulling off Pique but De Gea diving to save it at his right while it deflected off the outside post. Azzuri rewarded their first goal soon this time from a direct kick in central position. Eder fired it through the ball and De Gea’s loose save quickly was pressured by Giaccerinii on the rebound ahead of Pique and it fallen to Chielini for easy finished. the contribution of Morata up front significantly became slugish without a needed flash of penetration from midfield and lack of pace surely turned Spaniard’s attacking threat entirely off as Italian fluid transition and cohesive change of play continued to shaken them in defense. Eder picked up Florenzi on the right before his cross allowed De Ceglio to direct a cool header over rush of players as Giaccerini turnred it into an acrobatic volley that hit the near post after De Gea timely clearance reaction. Italy could double their lead on the brink of interval using brilliant pace and sharpness to trouble opponent. Spain lost possession as Giaccerini quickly picked De Rossi as he turned while havening nutmeg while his neat nutmeg inside Iniesta linked up with Eder’s run before he releasing Pelle with a precise break-away play to sprint forward and while Giaccherini charging to open run high up the pitch and offering Pelle an option before bracing into return pass and nicely inside nicely to fire his attempted shot into the top of corner drew a timely reflection save from De Gea to pounce the ball away. the second half proved to be the relatively same patterns as Spain has shown confusion and lack of cutting edge to break Italy’s compat backline even after introduction of Aduriz, who replaced Morata and Pedro Rodriguiez deploying into wide striker position on the right to use his speed to hit an overlap and turning crosses. the change of game plan suggested slight willingness path from Del Busque to sacrifice their extreme tiki-taka tendency at least for the remaining of this game, but it looked a little too late as well. another glimpse of incredible counter-attack with delightful pace nearly gifted Italian the second goal five minutes after the restart. Florenzi’s inside pass from wide set up Motta as his one touch through ball to Pelle was combined with his crafty back-heel to Eder’s clever run all the way deep in Spain’s back, but Eder hit his shot straight at De Gea and it wasted. Spain with slim occasion to create their really single dangerous chance came in the 75th minutes to keep their hopes alive. Silva sent a find cross over the far post with Aduriz narrow header was hooked up by Vasquez on the outside end of box and he looked up to dink a fine pint-point cross into centeral edge of box for Iniesta to smash half scissor left-footed volley the first time, which Buffon saved it high up the post. this was last flame of attacking display from Spain before Italians last minute killing punch. Conte highlighted his nutorious coaching superiority to Del Busque with his subs when Insigne arrived and soon involved in their second goal. in a counter Giaccerini sprinted with agility and exchange with Motta nipping a short touch to Lorenzo Insigne when shifting wide to open off the ball run high up the pitch, suddenly squeezed the pack of Spanish defense moving on side, while the length of space on the other side was noticed by Insigne as he switched a great cross field pass to Florenzi on the right side as he drift inside his attempted pass deflected off Ramos just ready for Pelle to smash his half volley into the near post and triumphed Italian to another sensational surprising and deserved victory.
Spain’s story in this Euro cup has confirmed the nation’s essential need to indicate a far deeper strategy in making a gradual change towards their favorite and famous Tiki-Tak philosophy, will be highly obligated a vital transition to redevelop an structurally dynamic principles. the fact underlines the deployment of new system, which is more ideal to style and mentality of their new generation of players like Nolito, Morata and Vasquez in the near future. the emergence of Spanish latest steam of talented youth has highlighted their relatively different mentality and desire in re-shaping new characteristics in the heart of their attacking DNA, while they are looking adapted to enjoy more high tempo and purposeful football, the practically missing factors that caused a poor finishing play in Spanish attack and ultimately lack of penetration spark as the reason of their elimination once again. as the legends of Spain’s inventive tiki-taka philosophy in the last decade seem to be on the verge of their careers end, the path is waving for steam of incredible young generation to replace them and leading Spanish to success and making history
for Italian this beautiful journey is becoming the glorious start to regain some reputations and redeveloping instructions of efficient, powerful and great football during their dramatically rollercoaster chapter of crisis as many describe. despite having been criticized for a widely decline of their Seria A top flight success and competitiveness in Europe, while facing the challenge of failing to produce talented individual players in last decade, the delivery and performance of this young Italian team entirely whipped out those negative remarks, and they instead defined a brilliant vision of collective enthusiasm and strategic success in reliance of their exceptional tactical quality combined with individual’s eager adaptation and sheer intelligence to press and control opponents based on their superb resiliency, consistency and leadership defensively, while applying incredible precision, sustainable pace and energetic combination in transition and counter to break strong sides. Conte masterminded tactical reliability and vital cohesion equally on pressing off the ball and possession to highest extent of positive mobility in this tournament. Giaccerini, Pelle and possibly Insigne as of now considered inspiration, but ultimately are capable of offering world class creativity and flair.