The Road To World Cup
World cup qualifiers are moving towards its traditional boiling point of groups stage matches across the globe with some noticeable shows already taking place in Europe on the second match day in a relatively refreshing scenario shortly after Euro 2016 cup.
Spain vs Italy: both teams looked emphatically ambitious to be adapted into their new exciting journey while highlighting a fresh memory in the quickest revival of their head-to-head history nearly two months after Italians eliminated Spanish from European Championship. majority of both side’s starting line up remained same from their previous meetings and little changes was observed by the addition of fine youngsters. Spain easily packed into a rejuvenated midfield shape with Vitolo and David Silva deployed into outside strikers role either side of Diego Costa with three versatile attacking creators, Iniesta, Koke and Sergio Busquets occupying midfield in their more adapted and ideal 4-3-3 formation with good progress from last two years. Both Silva and Vitolo appeared as wide play-makers to operate on the flanks and with natural tendency of drifting inside to interchange neat passing play with deeper midfielders enhanced their ability to offer more efficient pace to their passing when switching from possession build-up as usual in courtesy of maestro technician, Andres Iniesta in generating neat and consistent interchanging passes with Silva in advance positions to link up with Vitolo and Diego Costa, freeing up full backs to push high with willingness to spark crafty overlap that offered balance of changing tempo once Iniesta, Silva and Koke orchestrating from deep to use flanks for the final ball. Italy meanwhile technically adapted to energetic pace and intelligent off the ball movements of their wide men; an appealing factor without their lethal wing man Giaccerini and in his absence Di Sciglio and Alessandro Florenz deploying into dynamic dual role of “full-wing back” attackers to combine in quick transitions; a highly well-coordinated tactical concentration, supporting a familiar striker partnership of Pele and Eder when joining attack higher and tracking back to double press Spanish in defense; the style and capability of the team under new coach Gian Piero Ventura confirmed the same desirable 3-5-2 formation in fact. they settled to press and looking for counter against Spanish possession dominance clearly. Spain mainly dictated the pace of play in the midfield with some decent chances came far few between the first half like Ramos header effort that went wide of the post and Iniesta’s fine footwork to link up with Silva for a shot that saved by Buffon. they maintained their possession to keep Italian backline under pressure and three minutes later another chance was offered for them. Costa held the ball on the corner line and turned to cut it back for Silva, City playmaker produced a delightful technique to dribbling inside four defenders before his attempted left footed shot blocked by Barzagli and waved off. the swift rotation of consistent passing combinations involving three central creators opening into line of five attackers by addition of two wingers in case of Carvajal and Jordi Alba offered Spain vital transparency in final third as they looked to press opponent for a long period. Vitolo was played on the right side and managed to drift inside to combine with Koke short return pass and his final ball which Costa failed to connect with it, Silva then tried his long range effort following a patient passing build up before Girard Pique significant close range anticipation to score in two successive occasion could given Spain the lead, he first rose high to flick a header from Iniesta’s cross but it went inch wide of the post, he repeated another heading contribution four minutes later when another cross from outside of the box was directed by Costa’s header to Barca defender but his weak effort was saved by Buffon. Italy nearly were short of any attacking penetration in the first half and eventually were punished right after the start of second half, Vitolo raced forward away from Di Sciglio to a simple deep through pass coming from midfield and while Buffon cleared his line to save the ball he let it slipp under his feet in a very sloppy way and Vitolo finished the empty net, one of those truly rare occasions as an forgettable moment in the glittering career of Italian’s legend, one that wouldn’t be imagined to happened ever again. the host have finally needed some attacking ambitious inside the 68 minutes, Di Sciglio cross from left side was directed to the edge of the goal by Pelle header but Parolo was far away from hitting inside. the arrival of Ciro Immobile inserted more energetic link up play to Italy’s attack and could equalize soon after; Florenzi’s short cross from corner was directed quickly to the far post by Eder’s header but Immobile attempted diving connection narrowly went out, the regret replaced joy few minutes after when substitued Andrea Belotti burst forward on the edge of box and his short wide pass combined with Eder’s inside turn that was fouled by Romos and rewarded a penalty, De Rossi converted from the spot and the game tied with both teams highly underlined their strength and weaknesses seems so crucial to team selection and tactical adaption ahead of their assumingly simplified bracket of weaker sides and for an ultimately a defined journey of their own as traditional favorites in two race scenario. Julien Lopetegui now in charge of a highly rejuvenated Spain team both tactically and mentally with a balanced mixed of genius veterans in masterpiece playmakers of Iniesta, intelligent Busquets and world class defenders in Pique and Ramos, which sparked the flame of vital transition in their post golden era, while Italians might need more time to cluster the steamy emergence of an entirely young squad whom aim to emphasize and inspire new array of productivity and global reputation.