Serie A

Capello: ‘Italy need more speed against Switzerland’

Capello: ‘Italy need more speed against Switzerland’

Capello: ‘Italy need more speed against Switzerland’

Former coach Fabio Capello analysed Italy’s upcoming Euro 2024 Round of 16 duel with Switzerland, explaining why the ‘greatest responsibility lies with Serie A’ in their struggles so far.

The Azzurri picked up a fairly lacklustre second place finish in Group B, finishing on four points after a 2-1 win over Albania, a 1-0 loss to Spain and a 1-1 draw with Croatia. The performances and results did little to calm supporters, who are concerned about the team’s quality and mentality heading into the knockout stages.

In the Round of 16, Italy will battle it out with Switzerland, who looked more positive in their group stage campaign at Euro 2024, picking up a win over Hungary and tight draws with Scotland and Germany. Murat Yakin’s side will be feeling confident of their chances to progress in the June 29th clash in Berlin.

Capello analyses Switzerland vs Italy

Writing for La Gazzetta dello Sport, Capello gave a detailed analysis of Italy’s position after the group stage and what needs to change in their knockout clash with Switzerland.

“Italy, forward with faith. But by faith I don’t just mean the spirit that the other night allowed us to throw ourselves into the box until the end and to tie the game against Croatia in the 98th minute thanks to Riccardo Calafiori’s run and Mattia Zaccagni’s magic.

“By faith (Fede in Italian, ed.) I also mean Federico Chiesa, who remains the most international player of our national team.

Sprints, bursts, changes of pace, high intensity. Modern football goes in this direction, just look at the Spain of Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal, and the Juventus forward is the only one to have these characteristics in his locker.

“He is often criticised, Federico, but this national team needs him and his ability to break the bank and defences to the sound of percussion, dribbling and impromptu plays. And all the more so on Saturday afternoon, in the Round of 16.

“Italy will need more speed against Switzerland, so far we’ve appeared too slow with the ball. The greatest responsibility lies with our Serie A. In the league we see too many unnecessary horizontal passes that end up slowing down the game and lowering the pace.

“Not to mention the diving and time-wasting. The bill is then paid by the national team, which is less accustomed than other teams to playing at very high intensity.

“Having escaped one danger (Croatia), we’ll now find another on our way. Woe betide underestimating Switzerland, historically an uncomfortable customer for Italy. When they don’t play a trick on us, they still make us sweat. And that’ll be the case in Berlin this time too.

“Yakin’s national team doesn’t have a Modric, but are solid, physical and compact. The Italy seen against Croatia will not be enough to pass the round.

“At the Olympiastadion, in addition to the spirit of the good times and the World Cup won in 2006, technique and speed will be needed. In two words: Federico Chiesa.

“Italy go to Berlin and in front of us we’ll find a moving wall. Switzerland run, press, fight and fill the opponent’s box with several players. And they’re very ‘Italian’: from Sommer, the Italian champion goalkeeper with Inter, to Bologna‘s Champions League block, who are flying around in Germany a bit like they’ve done all season at the Dall’Ara with Thiago Motta.

“Not only should we not underestimate Freuler and co., but from the first minutes it’ll be crucial to tune into their frequencies in order to avoid bad surprises. The key is always the midfield. To get the better of Xhaka and Freuler, who are the brains and heart of Switzerland, Italy will have to be quicker in their thinking and with the ball between their feet. Less horizontal passing.

“And more vertical forwards or lateral supplies to trigger Chiesa’s one-on-ones. Exactly as we did at the end against Croatia. Zaccagni’s finish was as beautiful as it was important, but the move started from Calafiori, who was skilful and courageous in getting on the ball to foot and serving his teammate.

“And that pinch of light-heartedness is always needed. On Saturday Calafiori will be absent due to disqualification. A heavy loss, especially for the leadership and exuberance shown so far by the Bologna defender.

“Mancini or Buongiorno will take his place in defence. But above all Italy will have to do something more in terms of personality. And Spalletti will identify Switzerland’s weak points and the best men to hit them.

“There is a positive aspect in all things, even on long bad nights. Once the scare is over, we have to start again knowing that on Saturday we’ll have to take an extra step. Probably also in attack. So far Spalletti has alternated two strikers: one can play with the team, the other runs and fights.

“I prefer a centre forward who knows how to interact with his teammates, and I’m convinced that Scamacca can still explode at the European Championship, just as he did at Atalanta under Gasperini. Gianluca has been criticised on several occasions, even more than he should’ve been.

“The forward needs the support of the team and often Scamacca has found himself too isolated. The group is over and we got through it. But the real European Championship, the one with the inside or outside matches, starts now Italy.”

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