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Why Italy’s Defence Can Led The Azzurri To Euro Success?

June 30, 2016

- Grant Whittington

While Italy may have underwhelmed in their group stage matches against Sweden and Ireland, they have also delivered two stunning counter-attacking performances to book a quarter-final clash against world champions Germany. First came their opening game victory against Belgium, where Italy’s superior discipline and tactical ability earned them a clinical 2-0 win.

History then repeated itself in the second-round, as Italy produced a similarly impressive display to eliminate holders Spain. Both of these wins were based on Italy’s system and innate defensive abilities, which provided a foundation from which Antonio Conte’s men broke with speed and incredible efficiency.

The Secret To Italy’s Solid Defence

In this respect, Italy’s style of play is both in-keeping with their heritage and perfectly suited to the modern game. They are also one of the few teams at Euro 2016 to prioritise defending ahead of any other discipline, enabling them to work studiously on their defensive organisation and its application within a specific system.

One of the main secrets behind Italy’s defensive success is understanding, with the Juventus trio of Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini translating their club relationships seamlessly onto the international stage. They also line-up in front of another Juventus player in the form of their veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whose reflexes and command of the penalty area show no sign of declining. Characterised by excellent communication skills and strong leadership, this back-line is undoubtedly the most resilient in the world of modern football.

While these players take the bulk of the credit, however, they are also protected by the midfielders in front of them and the Italian’s playing system. The Azzurri have an excellent work-ethic where defensive discipline takes centre stage, while the veteran Daniele De Rossi plays a central role in shielding the defensive line. Strength in numbers also enables Italy to defend resolutely, with a solid 3-5-2 formation enabling the team to switch seamless between defence and attack as the situation allows.

Why Italy’s Defence Can Secure Euro 2016 Success

All things considered, Italy’s defence is more than a match for any attack left in the competition, while the efficiency of their counter-attacking play and ruthless chance conversion rate makes them a huge threat going forward. This means that they should definitely be considered as one of the favourites, while odds of 7/1 to win overall are certainly favourable given the Italians record at major tournaments.

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