Fragile Italy fear New Zealand’s height
Italy's confidence is so brittle that the holders are talking about the threat posed by New Zealand in Sunday's Group F WC clash rather than boldly predicting how they will destroy the 78th-ranked team.sports Updated: Jun 19, 2010 23:34 IST
Italy's confidence is so brittle that the holders are talking about the threat posed by New Zealand in Sunday's Group F WC clash rather than boldly predicting how they will destroy the 78th-ranked team.
Inexperienced Italy goalkeeper Federico Marchetti will start following Gianluigi Buffon's back injury, adding to the uncertainty witnessed in the defence against Paraguay.
New Zealand earned their first point at a World Cup when Winston Reid netted with a header to equalise in injury time of their opening 1-1 draw with Slovakia and Italy are concerned about their opponents' height in the box.
“We know they are a very physical squad and good in the air,” Marchetti said, aware he will have to command his area if Italy have to avoid an upset.
Leftback Domenico Criscito, likely to keep his place despite struggling with his crosses, is also wary. “New Zealand are
Player to watch: Chris Killen, Shane Smeltz
Italy drew Paraguay in the first match and are even with the rest of the group. A win is needed to qualify or be in the running to qualify as all teams in the group are tied on a point apiece. If NZ are to progress, they need to get at least a draw while winning their final game against Paraguay.
Italy need to attack. Gilardino and Iaquinta will have to find a way to break a stolid New Zealand defence that looked good against the Slovak attack. Meanwhile, for NZ to beat Italy, the All-Whites will have to take command of the midfield and play a pressing game.
Italy’s defence will be instrumental for them to achieve any form of success. The combination of Cannavaro and Zambrotta will have to use their experience to lead. For NZ, forward Chris Killen will look to cause problems, primarily for goalkeeper Marchetti.
First Published: Jun 19, 2010 23:27 IST