It began with a fresh debate over the role of the Oriundi in the Italian national team, after Italy boss Conte called up the Brazilian-born Eder and棋牌赌场 Argentine Franco Vazquez, prompting criticism from the likes of Inter Coach Roberto Mancini.
Italy remain unbeaten since the World Cup and when all is said and done, blooding new players is the point of friendly matches and in this regard the England game went extremely well. Conte’s tenure will remain under close scrutiny – it is part of the job after all – but on Tuesday night he used the players at his disposal in such a way as to suggest that the fiasco in Bulgaria could just be a small bump on the road to a bright future.
The 1-1 draw with England was close to being exactly what a Coach would look for in an international friendly. Obviously a win would have improved the outcome, but Conte once again gave a display of his organisational and motivational skills as an experimental side went in at half time with a comfortable 1-0 lead.
The midfield trio in question were excellent and helped the Italians control the first half, while Pelle showed his ability to lead the line and his scoring touch despite his ongoing drought at club level.
Given the week he has been through, it is hard to come away from the encounter with anything but respect for Conte and his methods. The new-look side were admittedly facing an experimental England line-up as well, but to a man they looked comfortable in the prestigious Azzurri shirt and capable of competing for a spot in the next squad.
The problems only really emerged once the predictable carousel of substitutions got underway. The shape remained新二娱乐网 more or less the same, but the personnel didn’t look nearly as comfortable once rotated. Even so, in the end it required a wonderful long-range strike from Andros Townsend to deny Italy the win.
Then, to round off his week, the 45-year-old faced an awkward return to the Juventus Stadium, where it was unsure what kind of reaction he would receive. However, the hype around the latter event turned out to be exaggerated and in fact Conte’s return to Turin was his most productive day of the break.
Then Claudio Marchisio sustained an injury in training that led to outrage from Juventus fans, some of whom went as far as to send death threats to their former player and Coach. A 2-2 draw with a struggling Bulgaria side hardly helped Conte, although the last-minute equaliser from Eder went some way to justifying his stance in the Oriundi debate.
Conte has extended the Azzurri branch not only to the Oriundi, but also to players from Serie A’s smaller clubs like Simone Zaza of Sassuolo, Mirko Valdifiori of Empoli, Roberto Soriano of Sampdoria (himself born in Germany), and Torino’s Emilano Moretti and Matteo Darmian.
The two Oriundi in question, Eder and Vazquez, play for Sampdoria and Palermo respectively themselves, and then there were the players from foreign clubs – Salvatore Sirigu and Marco Verratti from Paris Saint-Germain, Ciro Immobile from Borussia Dortmund and Graziano Pelle from Southampton.
Overall, 12 different clubs were represented against England and eight in the starting line-up. Given this level of experimentation, particularly in the battleground of the midfield where Marco Parolo, Soriano and Valdifiori formed an unfamiliar trident, Azzurri fans were treated to a surprisingly cohesive and organised performance.