Live Commentary: Germany vs. Italy

Will Mesut Ozil make his name now that Ronaldo is beach bound?

35 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jared on 2012/06/28 at 11:40 AM

    I’m a little surprised to see Boateng start again on the right after he was beaten easily for one of the goals against the Greeks. After watching him play I’m beginning to think Chandler may get a call after this tournament.


    • Posted by Jason on 2012/06/28 at 11:53 AM

      I have to assume that is what Chandler is counting on. IF Boateng makes another gaff like the one against Greece then Chandler will have to think he made the right choice.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/06/28 at 12:09 PM

      No coincidence that the Italian goal came from Boateng’s side. Not sure what he was doing out there.


      • Posted by KickinNames.. on 2012/06/28 at 2:50 PM

        Was shocked as well as he was awful both defending and out wide last match. He just watched Cassano turn prior to that cross. Awful.


  2. Posted by Jared on 2012/06/28 at 12:26 PM

    Well, I guess Balotelli learned from his previous breakaways and actually took a shot. Unfortunately, he needs to come off now that he picked up a stupid yellow for taking off his shirt.


  3. Posted by Jared on 2012/06/28 at 12:33 PM

    Podolski needs to come off. Seems to be killing a lot of attacks and he’s up against a guy that is completely out of position.


  4. Posted by Crow on 2012/06/28 at 2:02 PM

    well it looks like Italy should be glad they allowed Balotelli to come. Will the racist chants stop if he helps them win the Euros? Probably not.


  5. Posted by Zack G. on 2012/06/28 at 2:26 PM

    Well deserved victory for the Italians. So much for Jogi Löw being the brains behind Klinsi.

    Germany were the best side in this tournament (yes, I’ve heard of Spain)… why start Kroos and disrupt the flow of the midfield? You don’t try to adjust tactically to Catenaccio when you’re the better footballing side by miles and that system you’ve been playing and grown comfortable around is central to your success.


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/06/29 at 7:57 AM

      Catenaccio? Did not see Italy playing with a sweeper nor did I see strict man-marking. Just because a team plays a defensive / counter attacking game doesn’t necessarily mean it is Catenaccio.

      Agree about Löw tinkering with team selection. Was surprised to see him react like that but then not do enough to press Italy’s midfield. But regardless, if you defend like that, you deserve to lose. Those goals conceded had nothing to do with systems or even personnel. It was bad defending that shouldn’t be the difference in the SF of the European Championships. They were both stemmed from pretty simple balls, and should have easily been avoided. Still don’t know how they allowed the cross for the first, and have zero idea how they couldn’t cope with a simple ball over the top for the second.


  6. Posted by KickinNames.. on 2012/06/28 at 2:47 PM

    Germany looked way out of sorts in MF. I’ve never been a huge Kroos fan as he is a good player but seems to lack that something special and gives the ball away far too much. Also starting Podolski just seemed odd considering you needed someone to run at the right back and Podolski doesn’t seem to want to do that much any longer.
    Loew def didn’t look like he had the tactics right from the outset and never adjusted to Italy’s pressure and MF control. Pirlo is a true genius.


  7. Posted by Bode on 2012/06/28 at 3:19 PM

    I don’t think starting Kroos was a big mistake. Since Italy play a narrow diamond midfield, Low wanted Kroos to move inside to help deal with the Italian midfielders (especially since Ozil tends to drift to the flanks). However, this plan failed because Podolski was awful. I’m beginning to think that Podo has some compromising pictures of Low and it will be interesting to see how he does at Arsenal. Had Reus started, I think Germany would have troubled Italy more from the start.

    Alternatively, it would have been nice to see Germany play Lahm at right back and Schmeltzer at leftback in order to generate more effective width. Italy’s weaknes seemed to be in the fullback areas, with Chiellini returning from injury and Balzaretti playing on his uncomfortable side. Germany’s wide players offered little and Gomez was starved of service.

    That being said, it was still a pretty even game, Italy simply took their chances.


    • Posted by KickinNames.. on 2012/06/28 at 3:56 PM

      I think, to Zack’s point, the bigger issue was the disruption of flow in the MF and Ozul seemed to lack the space to do his thing that he’s done fairly well. He seemed planted out wide and with Boateng as his option he was on an island with 2-3 defenders whenever he carried the ball. There was much off about Germany today and Kroos was a major difference in their makeup. Agreed that Lahm


      • Posted by Zack G. on 2012/06/28 at 5:21 PM

        Exactly, cheers.

        Podolski had a bad game (and tournament), yes, but the main problem for me remains the decision to swap Kroos into the XI. I recognize what you’re saying, Bode, about wanting to use Kroos to counteract the Italian MF, but (a) you don’t have to do that when you boss possession and field space like Germany does, and (b) you completely change the complexion of the midfield not only because of his introduction, but because he was introduced for a WIDE player like Müller. That forced the German shape to change — and it compromised what has been the engine of BOTH their defense and their attack. Özil was not just on an island — he had to come much deeper to collect the ball. That stretched the normally compact triangulation of passing options that Germany rely on and made it so their flow was much easier to break up and Özil was much easier to mark out of the game. If Poldi is better, maybe that frees him up to make a difference… but why even get to that point when you have such an even, tested, and dynamic attack going forward? Why alter that just to counteract a midfield that tends to move the ball more narrowly (especially when Schweinsteiger and Khedira already rest so deep in defense)?

        I won’t even touch on team chemistry, but it was clear that was effected. I think such a critical change so late in the tournament (when your midfield has worked rather splendidly together) seems rather nonsensical to me. It’s not ‘Football Manager’… and that’s how Jogi played it.

        I’ve just spoken to mates of mine in Hamburg, Dortmund, and Dusseldorf and their reaction seems to be the same as the press — why would you change what isn’t broken? Even if Podolski has a poor game, I think Germany get through with the normal XI… they attack better, they defend better, they use their possession way more confidently.


    • Posted by dth on 2012/06/28 at 7:00 PM

      I think moving inside to match Italy’s narrowness was an essentially reactive move. Instead, take a lesson from Harry Redknapp destroying AC Milan and instead spread play wide. There’s a reason the 4-4-2 diamond is even more rare than 4-4-2 (Hodgson or Ferguson variety).


  8. Posted by dth on 2012/06/28 at 7:03 PM

    Mario Goetze barely played this tournament. That’s, you know, a mistake. And emblematic of the problem: Loew trusted mediocre guys over talented ones. Reus and Goetze should’ve been on the wings nearly throughout the tournament.

    Moving forward, first priority will be another fullback. It’s surprising to me Schmelzer’s club form hasn’t ported over international, but theoretically that’s where I’d start.


    • Posted by Alex on 2012/06/29 at 1:03 AM

      Hard to say Gotze was in good form though since he was hurt for almost half the season. And this is coming from a huge Gotze fan


  9. Posted by narkid on 2012/06/28 at 7:41 PM

    you know, maybe on the other hand, there was nothing germany could do against an italian team that is playing at a very high level right now. im hearing all this germany should have done this or that and thats bs. germany got beat today by the better team. germany has a confirmed record against italy in major events and it includes zero wins.


    • Posted by Zack G. on 2012/06/28 at 9:06 PM

      Italy are playing at a very high level, but there’s no way they are a “better team” than Germany. They won today, and they executed a wonderful gameplan, but I don’t think there’s exactly “nothing” that Germany could have done.


      • Posted by narkid on 2012/06/29 at 5:17 AM

        zackg i think italy proved yesterday that they are a better team than germany. a 2 nil scoreline is a pretty clear indicator. im sure the english are rooting for italy to win the whole thing so they can take solace in the fact that they took italy to pks.

        there is a trend, in us soccer circles, of trying to nit pick every move and it is having a negative impact on the system. some sort of micro management style or something.


        • Posted by Jared on 2012/06/29 at 5:52 AM

          It wasn’t 2-0. It was 2-1.

          Also, I think it’s quite fair to say that Germany could have done much more against that Italian team if Jogi Low hadn’t pissed himself in fear of Pirlo and destroyed the team shape. He moved Ozil who had been one of the best in the tournament out of the position where he had been successful and played players that had shown earlier in the tournament that they were not good enough (Podolski and Boateng). Playing those two weakened both the left and right side of the German team which against a narrow 4-4-2 diamond is the most important area to attack. It’s not nitpicking when the German coach makes huge mistakes that were glaring before the game even started (if you read the time stamp of my post about Boateng yesterday you’ll see it was from a few minutes before kick off).


          • Posted by narkid on 2012/06/29 at 6:49 AM

            good point jared, it was 2-1. its just that this is the semi finals of one of the biggest events on the planet. it is a disservice to take away from the italian victory. the italians were magnificant and could have finished even more of their chances. germany had no answers for italy yesterday. heck, even timmy chandler at right back would not have helped the germans.

            the germans could not afford to play wide or they would have lost even worse. it was not the coaches fault, marco reus would not have done anything, nor would goetze. those are kids and they would have been gobbled up by the italians, there should be little doubt about that. germany was good in this tourney, but like coach klinsmann said, germany is prone to resting on past results. another coach K, the coach K, says the best dont have rear view mirrors.


      • “Italy are playing at a very high level, but there’s no way they are a “better team” than Germany. ‘


        What you are saying is winning the game does not mean you are the better team. In the Champion’s league, Bayern was better team than Chelsea but ten, twenty or one hundred years from now Drogba will still be a 2012 Champions league winner and Lahm will still be a 2012 Champions league runner up.

        Would you prefer the competition was a popularity contest?

        I see it differently.

        How a team performs on game day and the days leading up to it, is not just about the 11 starters and the subs, it is also the remaining players and the coaching staff and the decisions they make about how to approach the game as well as the adjustments they make at half time.

        Italy’s entire team did a much better job of handling that entire situation than did Germany’s team. If Germany were so much better and had so many options, why did they not exercise any of them? Or if they did, why did they not work? The Germany I saw out there were so bad collectively, I thought they must be impostors. In America we call that a “choke job”.

        When Balotelli scored the second goal I was sure the Germans would come back strong and that Balotelli would get another stupid yellow and get tossed. Knowing what a fragile temperament he has why didn’t the Germans make a run at him and provoke him? Matrix knew enough to insult Zizou’s sister and got a World Cup winner’s medal for his trouble.

        There was plenty of time left after the second goal. A “better” team than Italy would have come back strong and organized. Instead you got a lot of Ozil and Khedira bravely running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to beat the entire Italian team by themselves and trying to score three goals at once. Now they know how Ronaldo feels about his useless teammates.

        As long as they keep getting past them in tournaments I’m sure the Italians are perfectly happy to be inferior to Germany.


  10. Definitely thought Reus was going to play over Podolski. Much more dynamic player, despite Podolski’s storied international record. Was not impressed with Kroos prior, so not entirely sure why he got the start in such a big contest. He wasted a lot of chances in his previous appearances.

    Boateng certainly looks like a CB playing RB—very mechanical in distribution and static with the ball on the wing, as if he were standing in the center of the field. Yet, because Ozil was continually receiving the ball on the right side, the German attack kept moving through Boateng, and it seemed to me that Ozil was losing confidence with him as the game progressed, cutting centrally and looking to play back centrally or switch fields to the left.

    Talent wise, German’s had no reason to lose this game really, but damn, Italy is sooooo good tactically, and their field awareness with Pirlo pulling the strings is impressive. They’re one of the few teams that can play relatively defensively, and yet look incredibly fluid and creative when they have the ball. Or, in other words, you don’t get the feeling that they are overmatched at any point in the game even when they go through long spells of not having possession. They’re very good at taking the energy out of an opponents attack with patience and positioning and then being clinical in possession. It’s a quality that is very hard to identify, but quintessentially Italian.


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/06/29 at 5:56 AM

      Boateng as a right back is a bad idea especially when Italy are playing narrow and have Chiellini at left back. Someone with more speed and ability could have challenged him much more. The same goes for Reus on the left instead of Podolski taking on Balzaretti who is a left back forced onto the right.

      The quality is called catennacio and it’s been drilled into Italian heads since the 1930’s and 40’s. Luckily for Italy it’s a good way to win games instead of the long ball awful style that England have had drilled into their heads since the 1930’s.


  11. Posted by dth on 2012/06/29 at 11:45 AM

    OT but Branko Boskovic resigned with DC United.

    Personally, if I were a youth coach teaching a young central midfielder, I’d just put tapes of Michael Bradley (v. Scotland) and Branko Boskovic (v. NYRB on Sunday) in the loop, but what do I know. Classy #8, Boskovic. Hoping he starts starting more.


  12. Posted by dth on 2012/06/29 at 9:15 PM

    Soony Saad for Sapong instead of Bunbury was one of the more curious decisions I’ve seen in a while.

    Really, Sapong should be up top every game, without question. The LWF stuff is cute–and he’s surprisingly good at it–but Sapong’s a #9 and much better than Bunbury.


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/06/30 at 10:42 AM

      Yeah, I was happy to see him come off, but really wondering about the reasoning for that decision.


  13. Posted by dth on 2012/06/30 at 10:23 AM

    Gatt subbed in at halftime, draws PK around twenty minutes in. Definitely ready to be at impact sub at the international level, though he would drive people crazy as a starter.


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/06/30 at 10:42 AM

      Which people?


      • Posted by dth on 2012/06/30 at 12:03 PM

        People, generally?

        I mean, he’s hyperaggressive–so much so, he will pretty much always try to dribble past guys or play the final ball whenever he has a sliver of an opportunity. That aggression is endearing and part of what makes him such an interesting player, but you need to be more responsible to be a ninety minute player. I’m not sure he knows what a backpass is.

        He also doesn’t strike the ball consistently enough–his crosses and shooting are definitely lagging the rest of his game at this point.

        So I think that combination of qualities would drive people crazy, though maybe I underestimate people’s understanding.


  14. Posted by narkid on 2012/06/30 at 6:37 PM

    dc united is stupid good. marsch got bogged down on the anacostia river tonight. perry kitchen, good, skills improving every week, future mens team staple. pontius, very good, stay healthy and he has mens team prospects. najar, very good, bright future. deleon, good, who knows what his future holds, but it looks very bright.

    im not sure why terrence boyd did not sign with dc united, but he should have. robbie russell with a goal tonight, but i think when dudar is healthy, dc united is going to play a 3-5-2. ben olsen, future coach of the us mens team. dc united will be the first MLS team to win the champions league, as it should be.


  15. Posted by dth on 2012/06/30 at 7:48 PM

    Went to RFK for DCU. First MLS match. I suppose I’m a DC fan now? Really good performance–Boskovic and Kitchen owned the midfield.


    • You picked a good team to follow. Been a long and hard last few seasons for D.C. Getting DeRo last season was really a watershed moment. Boskovic is a boss and Kitchen is only getting better. Pontius is one of the most exciting players to watch…actually reminds me a bit of Dempsey when the latter played for the Revs. Fully expect another USMNT call-up within the next few months.

      ¡Vamos D.C.! Welcome to the District.


  16. Posted by narkid on 2012/06/30 at 8:38 PM

    i think bruce arena just said, what the f is going on here. its another two goal lead let down. maybe san jose can go up one more goal and LA will have a better chance of winning.


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