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Italy - Euro 2016

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30-man squad announced.

Portieri: Buffon, Marchetti, Sirigu

Difensori: Astori, Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci, Rugani, Ogbonna

Centrocampisti: Thiago Motta, Parolo, Florenzi, Giaccherini, Benassi, Bonaventura, De Rossi, Sturaro, Montolivo, Jorginho

Esterni: Zappacosta, El Shaarawy, De Sciglio, Candreva, Darmian, Bernardeschi

Attaccanti: Éder, Zaza, Immobile, Insigne, Pellè

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Would've had Berardi and Pavoletti in there myself and probably dropped Eder or one of the centre mids, or both.

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Yeh esterni are wing-backs. The squad basically screams 3-5-2. Even though you have players like El Shaarawy categorised as wing-backs.

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No Mario which is not a big surprise but that's a shame :(

What's the likely XI?

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Losing seven from that squad is quite tough. Benassi, Jorginho, Zappacosta, Insigne, Bernardeschi, Sturaro, Ogbonna (with the idea De Rossi becomes the 6th CB or whatever assuming you want one cover for every CB spot)?

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Horrible squad on paper.

Buffon+Juve 3man defense is certain.

Two best midfielders are out (Verratti, Marchisio), which means Motta and De Rossi will start, probably.

Candreva is currently the best Italian offensive player, imo, but idk how's Conte gonna line them up.

He always uses 3-5-2, but there's no quality left wingback/midfielder here. And even for the right, Candreva is too offensive.

I see Florenzi on the right side.

Maybe something like Florenzi-De Rossi-Motta-Bonaventura with Candreva-Insigne behind Zaza.

Then again, there's also Darmian, but he's also right-footed.

If it's gonna be 3-4-2-1, Zaza will be the started because of his defensive contribution.

I don't see Candreva playing in the right midfielder role, but he has to play because he's in the best form atm.

4-3-3 would be much better in terms of offensive play, but then again, there's no left back at all.

And Jorginho was also playing really well this season, but he's too similar to Motta and I don't think DDR-Motta-Jorginho midfield is viable since none of them really goes forward.

Any advancment after the group is bonus for Italy this time.

But that's been said so many times already, and we all know how it ended. <.<

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Possible line-up Astaf?

What does Esterni mean?

No Mario which is not a big surprise but that's a shame :(

What's the likely XI?

I would guess at:

Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Darmian, Florenzi, De Rossi, Parolo, Giaccherini; Éder, Pellè

Hard to predict Conte. Not sure about one of the wing-back spots, and also the slot up-front with Pellè. Éder was nailed on until he went to Inter and did nothing.

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Losing seven from that squad is quite tough. Benassi, Jorginho, Zappacosta, Insigne, Bernardeschi, Sturaro, Ogbonna (with the idea De Rossi becomes the 6th CB or whatever assuming you want one cover for every CB spot)?

Benassi, Zappacosta and Sturaro are certainties to go.

I think he will keep Jorginho now that Marchisio and Verratti are out. Otherwise he would have gone too.

I think the mass outcry over Insigne being cut will keep him in.

I'd put the other four at Ogbonna, a striker (probably Immobile), Bonaventura and a wing-back (Bernardeschi)

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He always uses 3-5-2, but there's no quality left wingback/midfielder here. And even for the right, Candreva is too offensive.

I see Florenzi on the right side.

He doesn't. He used a Genoa-esque 3-4-3 vs. Germany.

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He doesn't. He used a Genoa-esque 3-4-3 vs. Germany.

Didn't watch that game.

Also, if you ask me, Bonaventura is staying 100%. He's the only one who can play the left midfielder decently. Insigne is too lacking in defence.

And he's been the best Milan player this season, if you ask me. Not much of a feat now, sadly.

Rugani is gonna stay in because he's Conte's favorite. If you ask me, Romagnoli is much better than him.

But on the other hand, Romagnoli is left-footed. Astori and Ogbonna are also left footed, so Ogbonna is probably as you said.

I'd also cut Monotlivo, both Motta and Jorginho are better than him. Even Parolo nowdays.

Eder has had a terrible end of the season thanks to Mancini. Bernardeschi will also probably be out.

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Didn't watch that game.

Also, if you ask me, Bonaventura is staying 100%. He's the only one who can play the left midfielder decently. Insigne is too lacking in defence.

And he's been the best Milan player this season, if you ask me. Not much of a feat now, sadly.

Just basing it on what I think Conte will do. It took him ages to call Bonaventura, and I don't see where he fits in a 3-5-2. There are enough options for wide roles (Giaccherini, Darmian, De Sciglio, El Shaarawy have all played left wing-back under Conte). And I don't think Conte fancies him as a central midfielder.

I'd also cut Monotlivo, both Motta and Jorginho are better than him. Even Parolo nowdays.

So would I. But I don't think Conte will.

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Horrible squad on paper.

Buffon+Juve 3man defense is certain.

Two best midfielders are out (Verratti, Marchisio), which means Motta and De Rossi will start, probably.

Candreva is currently the best Italian offensive player, imo, but idk how's Conte gonna line them up.

He always uses 3-5-2, but there's no quality left wingback/midfielder here. And even for the right, Candreva is too offensive.

I see Florenzi on the right side.

Maybe something like Florenzi-De Rossi-Motta-Bonaventura with Candreva-Insigne behind Zaza.

Then again, there's also Darmian, but he's also right-footed.

If it's gonna be 3-4-2-1, Zaza will be the started because of his defensive contribution.

I don't see Candreva playing in the right midfielder role, but he has to play because he's in the best form atm.

4-3-3 would be much better in terms of offensive play, but then again, there's no left back at all.

And Jorginho was also playing really well this season, but he's too similar to Motta and I don't think DDR-Motta-Jorginho midfield is viable since none of them really goes forward.

Any advancment after the group is bonus for Italy this time.

But that's been said so many times already, and we all know how it ended. <.<

Good analysis. Italy won't go anywhere this tournament. It'd be a bonus if they get through the locker room. I'm not a teen anymore now, and my memories go back in time... I can say probably this is the worst national team Italy has ever had.

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Would liked to have seen Giovinco go.

He would have done if he was playing serious football. No nation like Italy should be taking MLS players.

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Pirlo has been ommitted I think.

So, me and a couple of English friends want to support Italy as our 2nd team for the tournament. Any recommendations for a good Italian bar for the tournament with great food and wine?

We would love to meet up with some of you guys also if possible?

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He would have done if he was playing serious football. No nation like Italy should be taking MLS players.

"Serious football" :D

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Serie A hasn't qualified as "serious football" beyond Juventus in years. :lol:

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I've been very skeptical of Giovinco's sudden and consistent brilliance in MLS, but if we take a look at the lot of attacking players Conte has called up, are we sure Seb's form should be ignored altogether just because MLS has a (partly deserved) poor reputation?

The likely starters aren't exactly top-scorer material, and it's not as if they play for Top Clubs in Top Leagues either... Some have just recovered from injury, others have been vastly inconsistent this season and/or during their whole career, others had terrible spells at bigger clubs and had (or will have to?) take a step down to rebuild their credibility.

The only two who play at CL level are El Shaarawy and Insigne... A former wonderkid who has had his first decent stint in 2 years, and a one-trick pony who tend to disappear when things get tough.

I'm not saying Giovinco should be a starter, but he's had a better season than, say, Bernardeschi, and he'd deserve at least a fair chance to show how much he has improved. IF it is the case

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Conte was condescending in his comment. True, MLS isn't as a world-class league. But Giovinco's ability carries more weight. Also, every time Giovinco was called upon to the national team, he proved to be a significant threat for the opponents.

Pirlo is another story. His physical condition just doesn't allow him to play on the level he was years ago.

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Well he didn't. He had one good game against Ukraine, otherwise he didn't do much at all. I like him as a player, but his performances for Italy haven't been enough. And playing in MLS isn't going to get you picked.

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But honestly, WHO has performed adequately enough up front, for Italy, to warrant a guaranteed call-up?

Those with a vaguely acceptable record have been awful at club level, (or, in Zaza's case, have spent more time on the bench than on the pitch) or have been plagued by injuries...

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No-one. We're struggling up front. But that doesn't mean we resort to MLS players who were alright in Serie A.

Balotelli is a star with talent, and I'd call him up regardless given his performances for Italy. But he's been terrible since his hernia, so I understand Conte not calling him up.

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If you ask me, Gabbiadini is great, it's just that he didn't play much because of higuain, but whenever he did, he delivered.

Only 9 goals this season, but 102minutes per goal in Serie A and 92 minutes per goal in Europa League.

And Giovinco is a joke. Always was, always will be.

He proved time and time again in never worse Serie A that he's a mediocre player at best and him scoring loads in some retirement league doesn't prove value.

Saponara and Vasquez are both better than him.

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No-one. We're struggling up front. But that doesn't mean we resort to MLS players who were alright in Serie A.

This is why I'd have taken Pavoletti; at a time when there is no outstanding talent up front then play the one in-form. Doesn't have to be a long-term solution but even then he's younger than Eder and Pelle.

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I agree with you, I would have taken Pavoletti too. But Conte has been a disgrace for two years and picked some absolute rubbish. He only started to include younger guys like Bernardeschi in March - just over two months before the tournament starts. Ridiculous.

I mean, Berardi not being in the squad is a joke. He's not a No.9 or whatever you want to call him, but he's better than Éder.

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I've been very skeptical of Giovinco's sudden and consistent brilliance in MLS, but if we take a look at the lot of attacking players Conte has called up, are we sure Seb's form should be ignored altogether just because MLS has a (partly deserved) poor reputation?

The problem with MLS is it's a "perception = reality" situation. Most of our games are on late (by European standards), and it's not a high-profile league so it's easy to not keep tabs on what's going on here.

My guess is Conte didn't want to pick Giovinco and just reached for the lazy excuse.

Conte was condescending in his comment. True, MLS isn't as a world-class league. But Giovinco's ability carries more weight. Also, every time Giovinco was called upon to the national team, he proved to be a significant threat for the opponents.

Pirlo is another story. His physical condition just doesn't allow him to play on the level he was years ago.

Pirlo hasn't been good here either, so leaving Pirlo out makes a lot of sense.

He proved time and time again in never worse Serie A that he's a mediocre player at best and him scoring loads in some retirement league doesn't prove value.

Again, perception = reality.

I mean, I can't fault you too much for that. Every time I happen to see what MLS games Sky are showing the UK it's inevitably teams with someone the audience knows: LA for Gerrard, NYCFC for Lampard, Orlando for Kaka, Houston for Owen Coyle, Red Bulls for, well, because it's New York.

Means nobody gets to see, for example, Dallas which has literally about 10 of their starting XI coming out of their academy.

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Again, perception = reality.

I mean, I can't fault you too much for that. Every time I happen to see what MLS games Sky are showing the UK it's inevitably teams with someone the audience knows: LA for Gerrard, NYCFC for Lampard, Orlando for Kaka, Houston for Owen Coyle, Red Bulls for, well, because it's New York.

Means nobody gets to see, for example, Dallas which has literally about 10 of their starting XI coming out of their academy.

I think part of that too is that very few of the big name players are there as a first choice (for want of a better term) - they're the older players like Pirlo, Lampard, Keane, Kaka, Jones; or those who have reached a level in Europe and maybe not cut the grade like Bradley (at Roma), Dempsey (at Spurs), Altidore etc. So the automatic reaction to a player like Giovinco moving there is that he wasn't good enough for Juve so he's going somewhere easier, and then seeing him be *so* successful gives off the impression that the league is weaker than it is in reality - which probably isn't helped when someone like BWP who wasn't a standout in the English second tier goes to NYRB and becomes one of the league's best strikers. Gio Dos Santos is the only real player who springs to mind who was a first team player at a decent side and somewhere near to his peak who went to MLS because it was his best offer; when there are more examples like that you'd expect its reputation amongst laymen to improve.

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It's not the fact it's seen as a retirement league, even though the big name players they do have are all past their best and picking up some $$$.

It's the fact that the standard isn't seen to be as high. I'm not going to pretend I watch loads of MLS games - it's usually two per year, usually around this time when European football ends. But the standard I see isn't that great. That's the problem. Nothing to do with old stars going there. Yet I see on twitter all the precious US fans pretending that MLS is a top league or something. It's not even close. Players know if they go there, then international football is unlikely to follow. Beckham had the same problem for England. Defoe as well. He's a good comparison actually, because he was sort of on the fringes of England when he left, like Giovinco for Italy.

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I think part of that too is that very few of the big name players are there as a first choice (for want of a better term) - they're the older players like Pirlo, Lampard, Keane, Kaka, Jones; or those who have reached a level in Europe and maybe not cut the grade like Bradley (at Roma), Dempsey (at Spurs), Altidore etc. So the automatic reaction to a player like Giovinco moving there is that he wasn't good enough for Juve so he's going somewhere easier, and then seeing him be *so* successful gives off the impression that the league is weaker than it is in reality - which probably isn't helped when someone like BWP who wasn't a standout in the English second tier goes to NYRB and becomes one of the league's best strikers. Gio Dos Santos is the only real player who springs to mind who was a first team player at a decent side and somewhere near to his peak who went to MLS because it was his best offer; when there are more examples like that you'd expect its reputation amongst laymen to improve.

Two bits to this.

Giovinco went there because he was getting paid loads. And I mean loads. If you did the $ -> € conversion of his salary at the time, then he would have been the second highest paid player in Serie A. He was more than good enough for a top 10 Serie A team. Bradley too was very good at Roma, and there was surprise when he left because he was getting picked in their team. At least with him you can say maybe he wanted go home, even though I'd struggle to believe that. Another one who was getting a massive salary in MLS, relative to Serie A.

And yeh, seeing Bradley Wright-Phillips go there and score a bucket load of goals is pretty indicative of the standard. Unless the coaching in the US is so unbelievably good that he's improved as a player. In which case, Premier League clubs should look at him.

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It's a retirement league not because Pirlo and co are playing there, but because they're still among the top players of the league at their age.

And all of you are just naming offensive players, but whenever I watched some MLS highlights or read some analysis it all came to one conclusion.

MLS teams can't defend. Defensive aspect of all teams is terrible, so for example Giovinco looks like a world-class player there.

Instead of brining some older defenders from Europe, they just go for the offensive players in typical American marketing fashion.

But the thing is that some older world class defenders would improve their defensive game so much just with their presence and the domestic players would learn a lot by playing with them.

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The problem with MLS is it's a "perception = reality" situation. Most of our games are on late (by European standards), and it's not a high-profile league so it's easy to not keep tabs on what's going on here.

My guess is Conte didn't want to pick Giovinco and just reached for the lazy excuse.

It's a bit of a lazy excuse, but incidentally it's a reasonable one...

I've watched some sparse MLS games, and quality-wise it's a mixed bag, with questionable defending and generally poor tactics.

As Astafjevs pointed out, Giovinco moved there because he's getting a Top Player wage he couldn't have dreamt of in Serie A. The fact he's since become MVP material is simply another proof of the "perception" being more than justified.

I mean, The Atomic Ant was BARELY a rotation option at Juventus and his best seasons were at mid-table (at best) clubs in Italy. And suddenly he's as effective as Cristiano Ronaldo overseas?

Would following the league much closely have caused Conte to change his mind? Or would have reinforced his prejudice about a third-tier league?

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Giovinco went there because he was getting paid loads. And I mean loads. If you did the $ -> € conversion of his salary at the time, then he would have been the second highest paid player in Serie A. He was more than good enough for a top 10 Serie A team. Bradley too was very good at Roma, and there was surprise when he left because he was getting picked in their team. At least with him you can say maybe he wanted go home, even though I'd struggle to believe that. Another one who was getting a massive salary in MLS, relative to Serie A.

More than good enough for a top 10 team but not for Juve is sort of what I was getting at, the same way if Pelle went out to MLS and scored 25 in a season it would be more a sign that MLS is easier than the PL than Pelle is great. Wasn't Bradley great at Roma for a season then pushed aside when Nainggolan came in? May be misremembering though

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What's even worse is that he wasn't good enough for Juve that was leagues below this one. He was at Juve until 2010, then he went to Parma for two years. He was already 23 when he left for the first time and it was obvious he'll never be a top tier player.

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It's not the fact it's seen as a retirement league, even though the big name players they do have are all past their best and picking up some $$$.

It's the fact that the standard isn't seen to be as high. I'm not going to pretend I watch loads of MLS games - it's usually two per year, usually around this time when European football ends. But the standard I see isn't that great. That's the problem. Nothing to do with old stars going there. Yet I see on twitter all the precious US fans pretending that MLS is a top league or something. It's not even close. Players know if they go there, then international football is unlikely to follow. Beckham had the same problem for England. Defoe as well. He's a good comparison actually, because he was sort of on the fringes of England when he left, like Giovinco for Italy.

I don't know who those people are, because I certainly don't see it. If anything, I'd say we have a greater tendency to hype up our younger national team players like Jordan Morris or Christian Pulisic, whether they're in MLS or an overseas league.

Anyone who really watches the league would agree it's not Serie A or EPL. But how many leagues are?

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It's a retirement league not because Pirlo and co are playing there, but because they're still among the top players of the league at their age.

And all of you are just naming offensive players, but whenever I watched some MLS highlights or read some analysis it all came to one conclusion.

MLS teams can't defend. Defensive aspect of all teams is terrible, so for example Giovinco looks like a world-class player there.

Instead of brining some older defenders from Europe, they just go for the offensive players in typical American marketing fashion.

But the thing is that some older world class defenders would improve their defensive game so much just with their presence and the domestic players would learn a lot by playing with them.

You mean like Nesta and Cashley, who've also been brought in?

Frankly, I'd rather see our teams doing it the right way, like Dallas. Develop your own players instead of relying on aging mercenaries. But then academy products don't get you TV deals, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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You mean like Nesta and Cashley, who've also been brought in?

Frankly, I'd rather see our teams doing it the right way, like Dallas. Develop your own players instead of relying on aging mercenaries. But then academy products don't get you TV deals, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Lol, Ashley.

Nesta is a good example.

As you say, developing your own player is the way. And having a guy like Nesta in every club would help the youngsters a lot.

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ROFL. :lol:

Care to give any arguments why the MLS is so good then.

I watch it regularly and its not the level of the top 15 leagues in Europe.

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The game against Scotland highlighted what everyone already knows: the attacking knife was so dull that it didn't deserve to be called a knife anymore.

Candreva was particularly useless. He was playing baseball and wanted to score homers through crossing and shooting. Conte really hates Berardi.

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Care to give any arguments why the MLS is so good then.

I watch it regularly and its not the level of the top 15 leagues in Europe.

The standard of the MLS is very very poor. AFC Wimbledon often play better football than some of the MLS teams. I lived in New York for 15 months so saw many teams at the stadium and on television.

Of course an MLS team would beat AFC Wimbledon. My point is that in general, defensive teamwork is very poor, phases of play are poor and the goalkeeping is very hit and miss.

Pirlo had a decent debut for NYCFC, but has been ropey since. David Villa often wins man of the match (voted by sponsors) for political reasons. He isn't great, but scores many goals. I think his team mates are heavily incentivised if they assist him.

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Astori, Rugani, Benassi, Bonaventura, Montolivo (inj.), Jorginho and Zappacosta all cut from the squad.

Rugani, Benassi and Zappacosta the reserves

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Number 10 for Motta is blasphemy.

I'm also disappointed that Conte chose Ogbonna over Rugani. The latter has shown that 1) he's solid in every area (technical, mental, and physical) and 2) he can play anywhere on the back (left, right, and center). I argue that he's one of the best central defender Italy have right now.

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Italy generally make very boring squad selections don't they. They never take risks on many exciting youngsters.

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Our history in general isn't littered with many teenagers making a breakthrough on the international stage, compared to other countries. It's why I'm not always concerned when 20-year-old player X isn't immediately in the national team. No need to rush it When we do have a teenager making his debut, they're usually (but not always - Santon) pretty special.

All that said, when the alternatives keeping the 20-year-old player X out of the team are ****, then said 20-year-old should be in the squad. Rugani should be in the squad. Jorginho, who isn't even a young player, should be in. Berardi should absolutely be in.

EDIT: We've had five teenage debutants in the last 20 years. Name them.

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