Allegri the Underdog

Forced to give a straight answer, many Calcio fans would admit that they still don’t have a very positive opinion of Max Allegri.

Lurking in the back of their minds, Maxskepticism has many thinking that the former Rossoneri Coach is one mistake away from reverting to the blundering mess Silvio Berlusconi used to rail against, the Cavaliere once claiming at a political rally that Allegri “didn’t understand [expletive] all” about football.

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Whatever happened to Nicola Ventola?

It is a well-known fact that many talented prospects don’t turn out, with the mental and tactical rigours of modern football often too heavy a load to carry. It hurts far more, however, when a player has the brains, the technique and the guts to go far, only for it to become clear that his body – and his luck – were never cut out for a career in the pros.

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On This Day: Lazio’s Perfect Storm (For Football Italia)

Lazio may not win many Scudetti (three), but when they do, they’re quite something.

Just as Tommaso Maestrelli had turned a divided squad of gun-toting eccentrics into surprise Scudetto winners in 1974, so Sven-Goran Eriksson finally took big spender Sergio Cragnotti to the Promised Land in 2000, but it wasn’t easy.

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Coppa Italia Preview: Now or never for Inzaghi

At least on paper, Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final between Lazio and Juventus is a worrying one for Simone Inzaghi’s charges. Already beaten twice this season by the Bianconeri, Rome’s oldest team has been positively allergic to this tie since Massimo Allegri took over in 2014, never scoring against his men in the six Serie A games he has supervised, and losing each and every one.

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Inter and Mancini need each other

Inter’s tour of the United States has hardly been a relaxing affair: as if speculation over a possible Mauro Icardi departure to Napoli wasn’t bad enough, the Italian sports press is awash with reports of Coach Roberto Mancini’s dissatisfaction with the club’s transfer policy, with some even indicating that the former Manchester City gaffer would leave if his demands were not met.

There is, however, something that isn’t quite convincing about Il Mancio’s supposed desire to leave.

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http://www.football-italia.net/88438/inter-and-mancini-need-each-other

Azzurri not daring enough

Any analysis of Italy’s downfall on penalties must be prefaced with gratitude: though we may not feel it right now, we’ll eventually be thankful to the Azzurri for a great many things, whether it was for completely outmanoeuvring more talented opponents or Antonio Conte’s touchline lunacy.

This doesn’t, however, mean that our acceptance should be unqualified. Just because he proved us wrong before doesn’t mean that Conte should be exempt from criticism. Ironically, it is because he took Italy to the last eight that we have to ask ourselves what was missing to make the next step.

One could posit that Italy’s Coach went against his own credo against Germany.

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http://www.football-italia.net/86735/azzurri-not-daring-enough

Are Italy finally making progress?

It is a telling sign that many of us would have signed below the dotted line for last night’s Azzurri performance. Was this a sign of how much Conte’s team had achieved, how low our expectations were, or both?

To be truthful, it was a relief that Italy weren’t passed off the park by Vicente Del Bosque’s men, but was this ever likely to happen? Though it was refreshing to see Italy harry Spain’s ball-carriers and never let them find their feet, La Furia Roja has yet to prove that it has moved on from the team that puffed and wheezed in the Brazilian sun.

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What’s Mihajlovic ever done for Milan?

A typical refrain heard from many Milan fans this season is that the squad isn’t good enough. Early on, it wasn’t strong enough to compete for the Scudetto, despite Silvio Berlusconi’s usual bombast and the spending of around €85 million on the likes of Carlos Bacca and Alessio Romagnoli.

More recently, many Rossoneri fans weren’t buying that Mihajlovic’s men could suddenly lead the charge for Europe, despite a 12-game unbeaten streak and rivals Roma, Inter and Fiorentina all either running out of steam or facing an identity crisis.

And who could blame them? The Diavolo lined up the likes of Mattia De Sciglio, Antonio Nocerino, Cristian Zapata and Suso as they lost two of their first three league games, triggering an early panic and somehow justifying Silvio Berlusconi’s repeated public criticism of his coach.

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Where do Italy go from here?

It’s tough to talk about La Nazionale these days. There are very few certainties, after an up-and-down qualifying campaign.

Our imaginary Azzurri building blocks are full of red flags. Italy are unbeaten in fifty qualifiers? Sure, against the likes of Bulgaria and Malta. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci still make elementary mistakes in an Azzurri shirt. Marco Verratti still has developing to do.

There are so many doubts that’s it is worth asking whether we’re asking the right questions, or contextualising them properly. For example, is having a great squad enough to do well?

 

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