By Blaidd Drwg
For those who actually care about the US-Germany game, basically unless the US gets blown out and the Portugal-Ghana game is also a blowout, the US should advance. Here is the table for the results and possible outcomes:
The real purpose of this article is about the disgust that I currently am feeling toward the international team I actually follow – Italy. For the second consecutive World Cup, they have failed to advance to the knockout stage. Both of their losses were embarrassing – they had absolutely no answer to Costa Rica bringing up their back line and instead of adjusting the game plan to account for it; they just kept trying the same things over and over hoping they would start working. Basically, by forcing the Italians to make a number of long runs in the first half, the Costa Rican defense effectively tired out the Italian attackers and made them a non-factor in the second half. I might have forgiven Italian coach Cesare Prandelli for that if it weren’t for the Uruguay game.
Italy just needed a draw to advance and unfortunately the new look Azzurri seemed much like the old-look version – it was obvious they were content to play keep-away with the ball and play for a 0-0 result. That plan backfired horribly when Uruguay scored and then the Italian side was down to 10 men thanks to a stupid challenge by Claudio Marchisio which drew a (deservedly) red card. Once again, Italy should have changed its game plan before that. Uruguay was playing for the win, and had a number of good chances early in the game, but were denied thanks to Gigi Buffon and some great saves. That should have been the wakeup call to switch to a more offensive minded strategy, but Prandelli didn’t. Heck, the only reason why Italy even beat England is that England is in far worse shape right now than the Italian squad.
Fortunately, Prandelli realized his mistakes and did the right thing and resigned from the national team after the loss. They really need to get a coach in there to get this team out of their defensive mindset. There is plenty of fire-power on this roster, so why the hell would you play a defensive minded 3-5-2 set the way they did against Uruguay or the even worse 4-5-1 against Costa Rica. The Azzurri need to get out of the 20th century mindset of defense wins games and go on the offensive and bring us back to glory.