by Damiano Primativo
Angel Cappa is a former Argentine coach known for making his teams play well (in short, we understood each other: he was a “gamer”, but I don’t want to say it). Cappa is also an educated person and a fine thinker, and in a recent interview in which he was asked about the contrast between good / bad and good / bad football, he replied: Borges, quoting Kipling, wrote that success and failure are two impostors; the important thing is that things are done well. The same goes for football, which is a very complex sport: I want to win, but how do you do it? I try to play to the best of my ability “.
Always Cappa, in an article from many years ago, touched an even deeper point, namely the importance of using the ball to play at his best. «The opponent is confused and the action is organized by touching. With dynamism, with a purpose, with the aim of finding the free space and companion. Touch is a game necessity, in no way a spectacular luxury. You touch to play well and you play well to win “, which is to say: football is a big mess and contains a large random component, but if I pay attention to everything, if I take care of all the details that I can take care of, in short if I do things right, maybe I can reduce the chaos and increase my chances of winning.
Italy played well on Friday. That is, he had a plan (indeed, several plans) to attack and defend, he occupied some decisive positions on the field well, he kept the players at the right distances, he put doubts on the opponent forcing him to make choices. He also touched well, but he touched well because he performed precise movements that created spaces and made good use of these spaces. Then came the first goal. Which coincidentally was an own goal, but not a random goal at all. Has been the natural maturation of a plan of clear play, made even more effective by a precise correction during the interval.
The main tool used by Italy to disrupt Turkey’s low bloc was approach many players on the left side of the attack (not only Insigne and Spinazzola, but also Chiellini, Locatelli and Immobile) then change game towards Barella and Berardi, necessarily free on the opposite side. It was nothing new: from the first day of work Mancini implemented this mechanism by electing Church like the right fielder more suited to play on the weak side.
However, in the last period he decided to enrich the range of possibilities by replacing Chiesa with Berardi, a left-handed and more associative player who in addition to attacking the weak side can centralize and combine well with Insigne. This was the pattern of the first half, and it generated one of Italy’s first chances:
The feeling, however, was that the overlaps on the right of Barella and Florenzi were not enough to compensate for the movement of Berardi. In short, Italy did not attack the width on the right and did not widen the Turkish defense enough. In the second half, Di Lorenzo’s entry for Florenzi changed many things. Di Lorenzo it maintained a lower position on average, avoiding congesting the trocar and multiplying the effects of Italy’s strategy. Everyone benefited from it: Barella with a lot of free space in a central area confirmed himself to be a very creative midfielder, Berardi kept himself wider to continually threaten 1 on 1 to the opponent full-back. When compared, the shares of the first two goals are identical and represent the capitalization of the numerical and positional superiority created by Italy on the trocar:
To win you also need the right attitude, but it is sometimes easy to trace the merits and demerits back to intangible and mystical realities. So for example a team that defends well is praised for concentration, a very strong on the second balls for the Hunger, the Desire, the Claw. More likely, however, the truth lies in the work done on the blackboard e in the perfect occupation of the spaces by the players, without the ball but also with.
Yesterday, for example, the importance of Jorginho, which among other things made 4 interceptions.
Turkey-Italy was one of the most archetypal football conflicts: a reactive team, which hoped for a favorable episode and a negative performance of the opponents, was opposed to a more ambitious one that took care of the smallest detail and tried to minimize the random variables. It could have ended differently, but do things right it is the first step to have a favorable inertia.